Posted by: Paul | June 2, 2010

England Expects too much?

The opening fixture of the World Cup is just 9 days away, and yesterday Fabio Capello announced the final 23-man squad for England’s latest tilt at the title. There were no enormous surprises, with the possible exception of the omission of Theo Walcott in exchange for Sean Wright Phillips. Capello has clearly played it safe and gone for experience at international level.

Fair enough I suppose, but being an immensely biased Spurs fan I would have liked to see the inclusion of Michael Dawson and Tom Huddlestone. However, these would have been at the expense of Jamie Carragher (terrible season but more experience and a little positional flexibility) and Gareth Barry (unfit but one of England’s lynchpins when he returns), so both would have been extremely unlikely.

It’s the last-chance saloon for quite a few of these players I believe – this England squad is on the ageing side, and more of them will be experiencing their last World Cup than their first. I think the squad for 2014 is likely to look rather different, and many of the ‘old favourites’ will be gone. Rather like the coalition government and their ‘new politics’, could the next major campaign signify the ‘new football’, the post wags and wages era? Doubtful, but I’m an idealist, so I can but hope.

I find it a bit difficult to support a team filled with objectionable characters. Many of these players I have no respect for at all as people, which for me personally makes it harder to care about how they perform. Club loyalties aside, if I find myself actively disliking say, John Terry for his off-field behaviour, or Wayne Rooney for his appalling attitude problem, if they then perform poorly it’s another excuse to say ‘I told you so’.

Harsh, I know, but I think what’s really going on here is my way of softening the blow for when the team underperforms yet again. Despite the relatively straightforward looking group games, I am not hopeful we will rise to the occasion when we come up against tougher opposition. I think England fans in general are guilty of expecting too much from the team – we’re at the wrong end of the world’s top 10, and though I hope for more, the best I think we will do is another quarter final exit. Come on England, Terry, Rooney – prove I’m wrong about you! I’d be very happy if you did.


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