Thursday, October 16, 2008

Media getting carried away over Rooney, Gerrard and Capello...

The nation (at least those of us who are actually still interested in following England) will no doubt be thinking about the 2010 World Cup Finals in South Africa today following another win for the Three Lions, this time against Belarus to make it four victories from four.

It comes as no surprise to hear the experts telling us that qualification from Group six looks increasingly as if it will be a formality for Capello's team. All well and good if that actually happens, but as ever, sections of the media are starting to get giddy when asking questions like "Are England world-beaters?”

It was the very same media that only a few weeks ago were questioning last night's heroes; Wayne Rooney (positional sense) and Steven Gerrard (one in ten for England). To be fair to the media, Rooney has added to the debate by informing us that, yes, Capello has helped him with his positioning. However, with the danger of being a kill-joy, from what I saw of Rooney against Belarus and as undoubtedly brilliant as his second goal was he hasn't changed a damn thing.

Against Belarus there were times when the former Everton striker was deep in England's own half. Rooney's biggest problem, for both England and United, hasn't been a lack of effort, or indeed his positional sense, it has consistently been his poor finishing, against Belarus it was exemplary.

I doubt Rooney will score many better goals for England, or indeed United, the way he out-foxed that defender with that dummy and then shook-off the attentions of the second defender with that subtle feint was pure genius. Fabio Capello, nor even Fergie can show or tell a striker like Rooney how to perform such trickery. Rooney's movement that led to his second goal of the night came from his instinctive imagination, split-second timing is critical as is the ability to keep cool at the vital killer moment when confronted with the goal at your mercy.

AS for Steven Gerrard - as well as he played against Belarus, the jury is very much out on this particular Scouser where England are concerned - one good game in ten for your country doesn't make you a top international footballer.

Gerrard knows this all too well, but if you believe the media they will have it that the Liverpool midfield star is both the problem and the potential solution behind England's inconsistency. Time waits for no player and IMO Capello needs to give Gerrard a serious boot up the backside - he needs to be given the hard-word, shape up or prepared to be left-out.

The coach and players do deserve a lot of credit, managing England has to be one of the most difficult jobs in the world, not least due to the over-inflated opinions our of true standing in the world game, because no matter how much the media try to convince us otherwise, the record shows that England have been a very average international team, arguably since 1970.

Capello has a great record, no one can deny that, but he's no miracle worker and as good a job as he's done so far, how can a team with serious ambitions of winning the World Cup rely upon the likes of Emile Heskey?

Chances are England will qualify for the World Cup Finals and by the time the squad arrives in South Africa, the competition will be "all but won" (that is, if you believe the media hype) but then reality will once again bite and England will be on the first plane home after the first serious knockout game.

One of the reasons that I actually hate these international breaks is the media's gross over-reaction, both good and bad, to anything and everything connected with England. Why cannot we as a nation keep our sense of perspective where the England team is concerned?

I know I bang on about the media but I blame them for raising the fans expectations too high, over the last forty years results have proven that we all should know better. England will probably go to South Africa, but we should go there in hope rather than with any sense of real expectation, to think otherwise would be delusional.


  1. Gerrard does not need a kick up the back side, as written in the Mirror this week, when you look at the stats as England with Gerrard and England with Lampard, it would seem Lampard needs the kick up the backside as the stats prove England play better with Gerrard than with Lampard. England need to realise that Lampard will need to sit back and let Gerrard do what he does best, or drop Lampard bring in Barry as he and Gerrard compliment each other brilliantly. Not surprising to see the comments about Gerrard on a Manchester United Blog...

  2. "Lies, damned lies, and statistics" - my eyes do not deceive me. All too often, Gerrard has been pants when selected for England and so has Lampard. Only a blinkered LFC/Chelsea fan would argue otherwise. I will agree that the midfield mix hasn't been right though, maybe Capello can solve that particular conundrum.


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