Since the start of the 2010 World Cup, we have watched our national team go from a free scoring, confident outfit; to a nervous, shaky looking team that doesn’t look comfortable in possession and one that isn’t living up to the countries expectations. Why is this?
For me; the finger is pointed firmly at the coach – Fabio Capello. Now, he hasn’t become a bad coach overnight that is for certain. During the start of his tenure we looked an unstoppable outfit; beating arch rivals Germany, thrashing a very good Croatian side, not once but twice and blasting in an incredible 34 goals during the qualification campaign for the 2010 World Cup. Then it all went wrong.
It all seemed to start in the 3 warm up matches before the World Cup. Whilst winning all 3 games, England looked unconvincing on the pitch and it didn’t seem clear if Capello knew what his strongest side was and what tactics to employ. This was confirmed during the World Cup itself, when we struggled through the group stages; finishing 2nd in a group which we really should have dominated. We were then dismantled by a German side who had themselves not looked at there best in Group D, and what was the most promising England side we had had in years was on the plane home.
The biggest mistake we made was extending Capello’s contract before the World Cup had even begun. Since then, he has rested on his laurels and England have started off their Euro 2012 campaign in a nervous manner, albeit still undefeated. But after what can only be described as a disastrous stalemate at home to Montenegro and a disappointing defeat against France on Wednesday I, along with those over at footballboots.co.uk are starting to wonder is Capello really starting to lose the plot?
Take the game against France for example. Yes it was a friendly, so you can forgive the manager for wanting to try out some new faces; but at least choose some players that have the slightest chance of making the squad for the Euro 2012 finals. No disrespect to the likes of Jay Bothroyd & Jordan Henderson, but they just aren’t going to make that squad. When you then look at the likes of Scott Parker and Kevin Davies; two players who weren’t selected for the game against France, but are having sterling seasons for their clubs, you do start to wonder what goes through Capello’s mind.
Culminate the above with Capello’s team selection and the England set up is all wrong. Phil Jagielka was started in an unfamiliar right back role on Wednesday night; one which he doesn’t occupy for Everton and was subsequently given a torrid time by Flourent Malouda. Gareth Barry has been consistently poor for England since the World Cup, yet continues to start game after game, and the two players who looked the most threatening against Montenegro – Ashley Young and Adam Johnson, found themselves on the bench for the France game.
All basic things which Capello is not getting right at the moment, but in the long run will cost us dearly. We may be able to go through the group stages by beating average teams playing average football, but when it comes to a major tournament; with this man in charge we will get found out and the long wait for a major tournament win will continue.