Last Friday, the FA announced that the England team will continue to be coached by Roy Hodgson until at least 2016, regardless of how embarrassing the side are in Brazil this summer.
Wow. Now BTL is not suggesting that Hodgson is the reason that England have almost zero chance of success in this year’s World Cup. England’s problems go far deeper than that.
The nation’s reliance on former superstars is one such problem. A lack of quality central defenders getting regular football is another. Many England fans and journalists are even combining the two by suggesting Steven Gerrard should play in that position. Seriously.
Let’s face it though, Roy doesn’t help.
England’s brightest prospects all play at teams with a stylish brand of football – notably those at Southampton, Liverpool and Arsenal – so how are they supposed to excel on the international stage when their temporary coach prefers to focus on deep defending, direct passing and tracking back at the cost of creativity (see James Milner).
England scraped through a qualification group it should have breezed. Hodgson was so scared of Stevan Jovetić and Mirko Vučinić in the away draw to Montenegro that he completely forgot that no one had heard of their defenders, midfielders or goalkeeper. Then there was the Ukraine debacle, a frontrunner in the ‘Most boring football match ever’ competition.
When Hodgson finally shook things up, England were great. The quadruple threat of Rooney, Sturridge, Townsend and Welbeck up front put considerable fear in the opposition. But he only did this because time was running out, had he been bold from the start England could have won every match.
What if England are awful in the World Cup (again)? What if the Three Lions’ roar is reduced to a whimper by Costa Rica? If that sounds unlikely, just remember Algeria in 2010.
And not to mention the age issue, with Roy turning 68 before 2016’s European Championships, England’s declining stars are young whippersnappers in comparison. Gerrard could be captain for another ten years at least, after all he is only 33 years old. Teddy Sheringham is apparently ready for a recall too.
Images courtesy of The Guardian, mcfc.co.uk and The Telegraph