Thursday, November 22, 2007

Wanted: A proven international track record

Having watched last night's Wembley debacle amid the inevitable chaos of removal day +1, I can't say I'm too surprised at today's decision regarding Steve McClaren. All I think that can possibly be said in his defence is that he was very unlucky with injuries, losing his entire first-choice back four and regular striking partnership prior to last night's game.

Against that, bringing back Frank Lampard when it has been proved time and time again that he and Steven Gerrard cannot play alongside eachother, and using Gareth Barry in an unfamiliar holding role in preference to Owen Hargreaves, were the kind of suicidal selectorial blunders which suggest the manager had a death wish.

What now? Inevitably given his media profile and success with Chelsea, the talk will turn to Jose "the special one" Mourinho, and I think that if he were to indicate that he wants the job, a deal could probably be tied up very quickly. For my part, though, I think the FA would be better off at this juncture going for someone with a proven track record of success in management at international level, and that means either Phil Scolari or Guus Hiddink.

The latter in particular has demonstrated with South Korea, Australia and Russia what can be achieved with a fairly average bunch of players. In my view, as the laughably-termed "Golden Generation" prepares to head into the sunset, that is precisely what England need now.

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Anonymous said...

Why do you put "golden generation" in quotes? Do you believe these footballers were over-hyped?

Also, can anyone tell me how much the manager of Croatia's team is paid in comparison to McClaren's salary?

I'm not trying to be clever dick. I'm just interested to know.

Paul Linford said...


Yes, I do believe the "golden generation" was over-hyped. Steven Gerrard probably had more natural ability than any English player since Duncan Edwards, but he's never consistently replicated his Liverpool form for his country. And David Beckham, for all his dead-ball/crossing ability, was nowhere near as great as his celebrity status suggested.

Anonymous said...

It gets even more gloomy: take a look at the news about the 2010 World Cup.

Anonymous said...

But surely there is something far more fundemental needs to be done about the whole English football scene than just another search for another manager?

My reason for saying this is the brutal reality that comes home when you consider that the relative achievments in the Euro qualifying rounds of the Scottish and the English national squads.

Scotland's achievement was at the very, very, least comparable with England, despite despite Scotland being significantly poorer in financial and other resources and in drawing on a comparativley tiny pool of players.

I doubt that this just to do with management, although it clearly has to be part of it. Surely there are many possible cause of national underperfomance inlcuding; the archaic and class-ridden system of 'old farts' who rule at the top in English football, the celeb culture of players, the underbelly of corruption the lack of young home-grown English talent etc. etc.

Scotland has by no stretch of the imagination got a clean sheet on many of these matters, but the comparable perfomances of both national squads, with hugely unequal resources says something about the English crisis.

(Declaration of interest - yes I am a Scotsman, resident in Scotland, and yes I felt for you after the Croatia debacle... we've been there!)

James Higham said...

Forget this stuff, Paul. Go with the Rugger.