Archive for the ‘England’ Category

Loan signings are cheating.  I mean how can Emmanuel Adebayor transform Tottenham Hotspur’s season and perhaps in the long run cost his parent club Manchester City the Premier League title?

For all of the praise the Premier League receives for being the best league in the world, it is fundamentally flawed in that it allows loan deals internally within the same league.

Jamie O’Hara last season joined Wolverhampton Wanderers on loan from Spurs and was a major influence in keeping Wolves in the Premier League. When the tenacious centre midfielder joined Mick McCarthy’s side were languishing in 19th position and eventually avoided relegation by one place and one point. Although you can’t say single handedly that the Englishman pulled Wolves from the brink but you could definitely argue that would have David Edwards and Karl Henry impacted as much in the middle of the park as O’Hara did?

Birmingham City were the team to take the unwanted final place back in the Championship but not because Wolves squad was better than theirs it was because Tottenham Hotspur’s reserves were. How can Spurs influence both ends of the table?

If you can’t loan out players between one Premiership team and another, then league’s such as the Championship are the next best option. The benefits of sending the likes of Adebayor, Jamie O’Hara and Yossi Benayoun out on loan to the lower leagues of English football are huge. Players of clubs such as Cardiff, Bristol City and Watford would learn and gain so much from having players who have Champions League, Premier League and World Cup experience within their team.

At a time where the gulf between Premier League and the Championship is currently criticised as being too big of a step up, surely an influx of experienced international footballer’s within the lesser ranks of English football will help bridge that ever increasing gap?

If we ban in the Premier League surely you’d have to prevent loan deals to teams with the same tournaments too? Adebayor couldn’t join Real Madrid, Quaresma couldn’t join Chelsea and Tevez couldn’t join AC Milan on loan (If the rumours are true). However we would expect Andy Carroll to score for Liverpool before we see a swift decision made by the footballing bodies.

The conflict of interests between loan deals is massive and yet in an era that has seen Serie A basically closed down due to match fixing, the most obvious form of ‘influencing’ games is a legitimate rule within football.

Overall if the rules were to change and internal loans were banned, the team that would benefit the most is Sunderland…as they’d get to send Nicklas Bendtner back.

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Before the beginning of the week I thought ‘Burnout’ was just a racing game on the Playstation, but after the media frenzy that has surrounded Jack Wilshere and Andy Carroll’s inclusions in Stuart Pearce’s latest Under-21 squad for the European Championships in Denmark, I now know it means Arsene Wenger is moaning again.

The Frenchman has covered the back pages recently with a thousand reasons why Wilshere’s inclusion isn’t wise, but all of them seem insignificant after watching England being outclassed by a German side at the World Cup that consisted of Mesut Ozil, Sami Khedira, Manuel Neuer and Jerome Boateng, four players who, 363 days before England’s exit, were playing for Germany in an Under-21 Championship final. Surely this is Pearce and Capello’s ideology for the future? An ideology that the likes of Wilshere and Carroll would be key to.

Andy Carroll has clearly struggled with match fitness since his return from injury and Kenny Dalglish will be happy enough for Carroll to go and regain this sharpness over the summer, especially with Liverpool looking likely to have a huge fixture list next season should they qualify for the Europa League.

The argument has been that the Under-21s would be a step back for the players after gate crashing recent England squads, but this isn’t a hugely valid point due to the fact that both players weren’t included in last years World Cup squad. Their international careers are still very much developing and so the next logical step in their maturation would be to play in Denmark this summer. This step eases the transition into the ‘full’ England squad, as Pearce works with Capello at the senior level, thus making the jump up not so extreme. Along with this is the bonus of playing with the likes of Danny Welbeck, Jordan Henderson and Phil Jones, who will potentially be their international team-mates at in the senior side in the not-so-distant future, hence ripening the team fluidity and ability to work together for several years to come (much like many of the current Barcelona squad in their graduation from La Masia).

Ultimately, the main positive in this whole scenario isn’t that Jack Wilshere and Andy Carroll will be important in helping the Under 21s succeed in the tournament; the main message that needs to be received by all English clubs is that country comes first, no excuses. Everyone associated with the international football scene needs to send out this message, loudly and clearly.

Would you rather see England lift the World Cup or your team with the league title? For many of you modern day fans it would be the latter, but I wonder what the likes of Sir Stanley Matthews and Bobby Moore would say in response to this. The younger generation of today still revels in the accomplishments of 1966 and yet, despite this, club football is ruling the roost in the world of football.

The Premier League was set up in 1992 amidst claims that it would help bolster the England team, but nearly twenty years later it is ironically crippling the Three Lions. The Premier League has created ‘super managers’, the likes of Sir Alex Ferguson and Arsene Wenger being the main culprits, which has tilted the balance in favour of the clubs whose managers are able to withdraw their players or, at the very least, lay down strict guidelines.

The clubs do have valid reasoning for withdrawing their players, other than the obvious ‘burn-out’ argument; why should the FA have the final say? Are they not just a big corporation interested in their brand and product rather than interested in football and England as a real class act that gave the beautiful game to the world?

There are numerous examples over the years of players sacrificing their national team for the good of their club career; Dimitar Berbatov, Alan Shearer and Paul Scholes to name just a few, but who can blame them. The club pays their wages with many endorsement payments on top and we must remember being a footballer, like in any job, people want to make as much money as possible. Playing for England brings no financial benefits, just pride, but even that sense of pride seems to be dwindling with every redundant friendly that passes; despite international managers arguing that friendlies are vital for allowing new talent and tactics to be tested.

It always seems to boil down to European football’s obsession with the top half a dozen from each league, especially when you read that five players released from England duty this week all play for a team in the top five. Not only does this demonstrate the FA’s general feeling of indifference towards the fixture against the Black Stars, but it is this direct lack of respect for the rest of the teams competing in the league that makes the power of the top six so strong; allowing them to call the shots in relation to the club versus country dispute.

I wouldn’t say passion and desire for England is totally lost, as come every major tournament when England ultimately promise so much but always fall, there is a genuine disappointment and anger from young and old alike. This may just be because the season is over so football fans need something to keep them occupied, but I believe it’s more than that; I feel it is frustration at ruining another chance to recreate ‘our’ own iconic photograph of Bobby Moore being lifted by his fellow countrymen, only this time with Wayne Rooney in Moore’s place. Furthermore, Jack Wilshere, whose inclusion in the U21 squad started the latest struggle between club and country, has declared he would love to play for the U21’s this summer and if you look at players such as Darren Bent and Matt Jarvis, players who are very unlikely to play in the Champions League, they would view England as an honour and a chance to showcase their talents on one of the World’s biggest stages.

All is not lost for the national team just yet. I believe it’s the fans that hold the key to England’s games becoming more than just an inconvenience. Until the fans decide they want to follow and support England for more than two months every two years then the FA have to make them want to; but I’m afraid, for now, club will always be the victor.

Joey Barton this week came out and said that England haven’t used him enough over the years. There is a simple enough, but not very polite answer to that, Joey: “because you are…” This however did get me thinking: what players have the likes of Graham Taylor, the late great Bobby Robson and Sven the super Swede let slip through their fingers?

Ian Wright

Such a loveable character (even Spurs’ fans would fail at not loving that golden toothy smile), Ian Wright had an international career that spanned eight years with three different full time managers and yet still only achieved 33 caps (16 as a substitute.) This is such a small number, considering that in the seven seasons that followed World Cup 1990 Wright scored over 23 goals each season for his club.

Andy Cole

Andy Cole made only 15 appearances for England, scoring one goal. Glenn Hoddle, in defence of his decision not to select Cole for the World Cup in 1998, accused Cole of needing six or seven chances to score one goal. That must mean for Cole to become the second highest Premier League goal scorer with 187 goals, he had 1309 chances. Nice one, Glenn.

Matt Le Tissier

Anyone dubbed ‘Le God’ surely warrants more than eight England caps? And if that argument isn’t convincing enough for you, then perhaps the words of FIFA Footballer of the Century/Demi-god Pelé are, “If Matthew Le Tissier was Brazilian he’d be in the Brazilian first XI every game.”

Scott Parker

Has the rather unfortunate record of being the first player to earn four caps while playing for four different clubs. Overlooked constantly because of the rather frustratingly ineffective partnership of Gerrard and Lampard. Hopefully getting his time now under Fabio.

Tony Adams

Admittedly, Adams did play 66 times for England, scoring 5 goals, but if Bobby Robson hadn’t surprisingly omitted him from the 1990 World Cup squad and Glenn Hoddle handled the way he appointed Shearer captain over Adams better; then England may have gotten a lot more from the Arsenal man.

Steve Bruce

Despite being one of the finest English defenders of the early 90’s and captaining Manchester United, Bruce never earned an England cap, arguably the greatest faux-pas ever by any manager, especially when you mention a few of the players who earned caps during Bruce’s playing time: Keith Curle, Colin Cooper, David Unsworth and Neil Ruddock.

Robbie Fowler

Achieved 26 caps, scoring 7 goals; not prolific, but not a terrible return for a striker. Fowler’s problem was that he didn’t perform consistently enough at international level, so his inclusion is more on the basis that England’s managers didn’t know how to get the best out of him. There was never a doubt of his capabilities, as he showed time and time again during his years at Liverpool. Perhaps he could have been an England (not just Anfield) great, had he translated that into higher quality performances for the Three Lions.

Martin Keown

A controversial figure indeed, but there was no doubting his talent as a leader and heroic defender. Keown began his England career under Graham Taylor but was ignored under Terry Venables’ tenure. Hoddle recalled the Arsenal defender to his squad during his reign but, despite going to World Cup 98, he never played. It was under Kevin Keegan that Keown earned most of his caps, and he eventually retired from international football with 43 caps. Surely having Tony Adams and Keown together at international level made sense, after forming such a resolute backline at Arsenal

Julian Dicks

Unfortunately for Dicks, Stuart Pearce had filled England’s quota for hard and passionate left backs. However, Dicks won West Ham’s player of the season for four years out of seven, which surely warrants at least a friendly run out? West Ham’s gain was surely England’s loss.