The Golden Generation?

By Dan Buxton
Last updated : 28 June 2010

Rusty brown generation more like!  

We have for a number of years been told to expect this crop of English superstars to eventually fulfil their potential. Well today in Bloemfontein, it seems they finally achieved that target with an embarrassing display against Germany.  

I am sick to the back teeth of people who are prepared to make excuses for these overpaid idiots who are sent out to represent England on the football pitch.  

I listened to Stan Collymore on TalkSport in the aftermath of the debacle in South Africa and he was quite clear in blaming the manager and also the fact that apparently all junior football is centred about kick and rush and not about technique.  

He (predictably for TalkSport) eventually mentioned Stoke City and Blackburn as examples of teams that now shouldn't get any praise for our grit and determination. In light of today's feeble showing from England he has decided that our style is being reflected in the youngsters in the academies and even in our national team! I know something - the Stoke team that I watch week in, week out would have given Germany more of a game than the XI out there today did. I normally quite like listening to Stan’s passionate ramblings but today they descended into total gibberish. Every Saturday he eulogises about the world class players in the Premier League that England have at their disposal, so where has that talent gone now Stanley?  

These excuses do not wash with me and the general public won't be fooled either. The majority of players in the squad will soon get to understand what the average English football fan thinks of their efforts when they visit the Britannia or the Molineux, for example. This national squad reflects the good living that their astronomical salaries enable them to have. Many look ungainly and slow in comparison with players from other countries. Playing for England simply doesn't mean as much as turning out for the paymasters who dictate just how much more than £100,000 a week they will earn.  

The time has now come for a new broom to sweep through England HQ. There are very few of our 23-man party that would ever pull on the Three Lions again if it were left to me. We have to look at the younger lads coming through the ranks and conceive a long-term plan. I don't want to hear about us going all out to try and win Euro 2012, as we are miles off being ready for that. There are young, hungry players in this country who would love to play for England. They are the future and they are the ones who we should utilise in our next campaign. If we don't qualify for Poland and Ukraine we must be patient and realise that these players are the basis of  “Team England” for the next 8 to 10 years.  

Our adversaries from Germany certainly don't have a problem playing younger talent who, on Sunday afternoon’s showing at least, are quicker of foot and of thought. I see the future of England in Joe Hart, Ryan Shawcross, Jamie O'Hara, Adam Johnson, Jack Rodwell and Andy Caroll to name but a few. They won't win us any major honours anytime soon but what have the current over-hyped bunch of pretenders done for us? I don't see that we have anything to lose as we slump to one of the lowest points in our nation’s football history.  

There was of course the controversy of Lampard's goal that was amazingly chalked off. The apologists for Capello and the team will say that it would have been a different game had it been allowed to stand and I suppose we will never know. What we do know however, is that despite having the motivation of being wronged by the inept officials, we still defended in an abject fashion and struggled to create chances for our front two.  

As for Mr. Capello - well he has shown himself to be totally out of his depth in this form of the game. His decision-making and tactical awareness have been bizarre at best and just plain stupid at worst. I can’t think of many managers who at 3-1 down would look to bring on the goal machine that is Emile Heskey instead of Peter Crouch. His insistence on not playing Joe Cole caused bemusement and the selections of two crocks in Ferdinand and King baffled many. The calls to has-beens like Jamie Carragher and Paul Scholes were beyond belief given the decisions to omit younger players who had excellent seasons behind them.  

It’s time for the axe to fall. There will be plenty of blood spilt if the F.A. has the stomach for change and realises that we as a nation are facing a footballing abyss if they do not act decisively.  

We the fans also have a role to play in the development of a new England team. We must show patience if the powers that be do the right thing and dramatically alter things around. We may lose a qualifier against Wales over the next couple of years but we must all look at the bigger picture and allow a new breed of England players  time to develop and blossom into the team we all desperately want to see represent us.

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