The Midweek Memoirs of VitalWatford Towers, Tom Bodell
Due to publishing deadlines [ooh, that makes me sound pro` doesn`t it?!] this is being written on a Tuesday night and will be published before England take to the Wembley turf against Croatia. Obviously I wish them well, but this week I want to continue my slagging session of men who probably don`t deserve it and focus on Steve McClaren.
We all know that we are in this position of ‘winner goes through` tomorrow night because the Israeli`s did us an enormous favour. Obviously it`s disappointing that a team like England, with the endless riches we have, on and off the field find themselves in this position when you consider the teams in our group.
No disrespect to Russia, Croatia, Israel, Macedonia, Andorra and Estonia, they`re hardly the best sides on the planet?
?So. Steve McClaren. I am going to put my neck on the line and confess to thinking he was the right man for the job. When his name first came into the frame, I wanted him to get it. Now I also have to confess to being someone who wants him out! Fickle these fans!
The following, are reasons why:
1. His lack of tactical knowledge:
After the defeat to Russia, Gus Hiddink reeled off several whole sentences about how he had made switches at half time to help improve the fortunes of his trailing side. It was along the lines of, ‘England were playing with three centre backs, Campbell, Ferdinand and Lescott [meant to be at left back]. So I put a player on to exploit that space and we made two goals`. Steve McClaren was unsure as to what had gone wrong in the post-match interviews.
Another confession, I pinched this idea from ‘442` Magazine. Sorry guys.
2. A lack of balls:
Beckham dropped. Beckham plays well. Beckham back in. Beckham injured and playing badly. Beckham picked. Hmm?I though McClaren would be his own man. Never mind. Robinson playing badly. Carson, Green and James ignored. Robinson picked. Double hmm?
These are however not the only examples. On a more tactical basis, McClaren`s side managed two consecutive 3-0 wins with Barry and Heskey in the side. As soon as the regular`s of Lampard and Rooney return, bye bye Heskey and Barry who have served the side incredibly well.
The England side is all about picking the form players yes? Not in Steve`s eyes. Pick the biggest names that play for the best clubs. Barry and Heskey are not household names at huge clubs, but they always put in a shift and do an excellent job for the, team.
3. It`s a team game:
McClaren, like his former boss Eriksson seems to favour the tactic to put the best 11 players on the park rather than putting the best team out.
The prime example of this is above. Barry got the best out of Gerrard and Heskey out of Owen yet Rooney and Lampard return and the team falls on it`s face. No doubt tomorrow night McClaren will go with Lampard and Gerrard in the middle, two men that CANNOT play together! It`s been proven too many times, will he learn? No. Hopefully, for the sake of the nation at least, McClaren will not learn this tomorrow night.
So. If the worst comes to the worst and England fail to qualify for the Euro`s, what happens? Does the Football Association have the balls to sack McClaren or will they give him the 2010 World Cup qualification to continue tinkering with the team?
I can understand how hard international football management must be. Only getting the players together three, maybe four times a year and seeing them playing different systems and formation with their clubs must undo all the work they`ve done with you.
However. If Steve McClaren was actually capable of doing this job, the team would be playing well together new in a system and formation that is most beneficial for the best TEAM. Instead, every international break sees a new formation, new system, new personnel, and new roles for out of position players.
Keep the faith,