I can’t help but agree with Hodgson when he looks at the options England have – frankly they are awful. Youngsters who have hardly played a game for their club, mixed with oldsters who should be sent to the knackers yard, are all he has to offer and really it is not good enough. The only half decent player we have has an enormous chip on his shoulder and will sooner be in jail than helping England to World Cup glory. No we are useless at the top level, an embarrassment in the style we play and getting worse each year.
The reasons for our ineptitude are many and complicated – club before country, enormous TV deals attracting overseas mercenaries, inept school and local coaching, too many kids with I-pads etc etc. All probably true but again not good enough
The stock reply from most toon fans appears to be, ‘we don’t care about England, we only care about those in black and white stripes’ which could be said for most supporters of teams outside London (who do care a little more, probably because England games are played there).
I agree to a point but I do actually watch England on the TV and I do get into the England thing during the World Cup – it is not a question of replacing the Toon, it is just I like getting excited by high quality sport (witness Murray last night). Other countries can produce teams and still do well in Europe – Italy, Germany and Spain for 3.
However, Ashley has unwittingly (or possibly deliberately) provided the solution. What you do is have a team of high quality overseas players over perform and roar into Europe. You then do not invest in the squad before all the extra games come along, in fact outgoing numbers surpass incoming, inevitably a few players get injured and bingo…all of a sudden a lot of untried and untested youngsters gain a load of European and potentially English first team experience.
Hodgson must love us and for Ashley an England team is good for his empire, who knows he may sell extra England shirts in the North East or more likely China. The only ones who suffers is those loyal fans planning trips to Bruges, Bordeaux and the beautiful island of Madeira. Hey ho.
Jonnie also runs a walking and guiding company in the north of England. Visit his excellent website at Where2walk to find out more.
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