So a few days after my country proves to be more unpleasantly xenophobic than I had imagined, my country’s football team proved to be even more shit than I realised.
Don’t get me wrong – last night was not the shock that voting out of the EU was. I was actually going to back Iceland to win 2-1 at odds of 28-1 – I’m more upset with losing £140 potential winnings than I am with losing the game.
Last night was actually quite funny though.
When England do shit, I tend to laugh now. Long gone are the days where I would go smash up Nando’s when Ronaldo scored, or go throw bricks at BMWs when we yet again hadn’t bothered practicing penalties.
There are many reasons that we lost.
Individually, Hart was clearly suffering confidence issues from day 1. Rooney’s passing was all over the place in the second half against Iceland. Sterling is badly off-form. If we had scored against Slovakia, or not let in that last minute goal against Russia then we wouldn’t have been in that half of the draw.
But there are two over-riding features of a failing England team.
Firstly, we are a collection of individuals. Iceland were a team.
Secondly, we have no spine. England remind me of Arsenal – full of talented players, especially in an attacking sense, but totally lacking in strength and power.
Whatever happened to the traditional, tough English centre-back? The likes of Butcher, Ferdinand, Campbell, Bruce – England has until recently always had a plethora of tough centre-backs to choose from. Steve Bruce didn’t even get a look-in with the England team – he’d be a shoe-in nowadays.
And we have no tough-tackling midfielder. Drinkwater might be the answer – Dier may fulfil his potential, but neither totally convince me internationally.
Hart is struggling. But I don’t think Forster or Heaton are yet up to international class goalkeeping either.
Plus we need a new manager.
So given our problems – Wenger for England?!
If we are going English, then for me, it would have to be Eddie Howe. He really deserves an opportunity for the fantastic work he has done with getting Bournemouth promoted, and keeping them up there, and has an attacking style which the FA and England fans would appreciate. You can get 10-1 with William Hill as I write – though not especially generous, it might be worth a couple of quid.
On the opposite style, I think Sam Allardyce would do well – but England fans would moan like hell if he got in.
Rafa Benitez could be an interesting choice if we were going foreign. He might take the job and knows English football inside-out. But he has just taken over at Newcastle. And as a real outsider could the FA pull out all the stops to get Spain manager, Vicente Del Bosque over here? A real outside bet at 66-1 – again with William Hill. I do love an outside bet.
I’m not too upset about England going out. This now means that I can go to bed at 6pm on Sunday night following a very heavy Saturday session which I have planned, and don’t have to worry about the semi-final as to which I will be on a train to Hull at the time.