Autopsy: England’s Euro 2016

So there we have it another major tournament and another swift disappointing exit. England has left Europe twice in a week and it’s exit from the tournmanent is exactly what the country didn’t need at this time. You should never underestimate the power of football for social change. People are comparing the exit to England’s embarrassing loss to that against an amateur USA in 1950, but it is not comparable. Not because this is worse, but modern day football is a different game and so in that context this is definitely the worst result for England.

Iceland were no push overs,with Gylfi Sigurdsson they have a star, and plenty of players with knowledge of the English game, even if it is in the lower divisions. Ignoring the population issue, the simple fact of who England’s players play for and how much they cost to play there should mean it would be a comfortable victory. We certainly demonstrated we can play possession now, something people criticized Capello for not doing, but what’s possession worth if you can’t score with it.

what’s possession worth if you can’t score with it?

Roy decided to resign, and rightly so, leaving a black hole and seemingly no one with an answer. With top managers like Mourinho taken, there is not many candidates available. The perennial question over an English or foreign manager shouldn’t matter. I think whoever is good enough for the job should get it, just so long as they speak English of course, it’s hard enough communicating with footballers in their own language. Jurgen Klinsmann has been linked and England could certainly do with a bit of that German winning mentality, I don’t know how pleased the fans would be with it though. Arsene Wenger has also been linked due to his tumultuous recent history with Arsenal, but he is married to the North London club and I can’t see him leaving Arsenal unless he is sacked.

Jurgen Klinsmann has been linked and England could certainly do with a bit of that German winning mentality

As for the players, where to start! I believe that Rooney was the worst player on the pitch alongside Harry Kane against Iceland. But Harry Kane is young and can be forgiven, Rooney however has under performed repeatedly in an England shirt. Rooney is also captain of our nation’s team, yet I don’t see him anywhere in the press taking responsibility. That falls on Roy instead. Rooney should be stripped of his captaincy at least, and dropped from the side at most. Joe Hart was another under performer who made a plethora of mistakes over the course of the games England played. He has not lived up to the hype that claimed he would be the Number 1 for the next ten years. Now fans are looking around in all directions for someone who gives them less anxiety with rash rushes and missed saves. Hart’s passion is admirable, but goalkeepers are so important, and you need to have complete confidence (which Joe Hart has now lossed). Jack Butland will be warming up his hands.

Rooney should be stripped of his captaincy at least, and dropped from the side at most

England need to realise that they can’t be anyone else other than themselves. We need to stop trying tactics from abroad, or the posession game and utilise what we do have. A strikeforce of two strikers needs to return. Any attack is more dangerous when there are two of you, think Sheringham and Shearer in 96, even if it leaves you more vulnerable. England have always had a solid intimidating defence, but the last couple of tournaments has seen us look vulnerable and begging for some muscle. It may be an issue with a lack of talent, but people such as Ryan Shawcross who is built from the old mould were left at home while only three recognised centre backs went to France.

The biggest challenge though more than any other is mental. We may not have had the teams to win any tournaments, but we definitely had the talent to get further in some of these tournaments. There is a mental block there that wasn’t helped after this perfomance in France. There are plenty at fault. The FA for their organisation and lack of control over getting English players games in the Premier League, the managers who have failed to inspire, and the players scarred by years of failure and pressure from fans and media. The players have struggled to find a ruthless edge with one of the worst penalty records in international football. I liked the change towards youth with this squad and beleive we were rewarded with better performances because of it, but there were too many selections undeserved and too many players who would have busted a gut for the team left at home. England need to pick players on form instead of past glory, or the teams they play for. Italy who have looked impressive in the tournament and contain players from a wide variety of clubs from Bologna and Lazio. England meanwhile left the top scorer for the team who won the Premier League on the bench and one of their star midfielders in Danny Drinkwater at home.

The problems with England seems to form a long list and there are many ways to paper over cracks, but never actually solve the big question. How do we get success? For me it is going to have to be a radical change from all sides not just the football side. The media need to realise their responsibility, the fans need to control the expectation and the FA need to control foreign imports taking up places of English players, and find the best psychologist in the world. Simple.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.