England: a team with talent but still lacking a vision

Imagine a GPS device in which it wasn’t possible to enter a destination. It would send your car in a thousand different directions without arriving at any particular place. That folks, is England’s national football team.

Molding the English DNA

For a while now there’s been talk about how to alter English football’s DNA – a mix of what’s been done in Germany and Spain over the last two decades. A new stadium was put up, inquests held, and a new coach and assistants looked for (Hodgson and Neville) who could lead the way forward.

Neville and Hodgson

The vision was about empowering the young footballer, giving him experience, choosing the most tactically and technically gifted and having patience with them. But when England lost to Iceland, all those ideas were suddenly chucked in the bin. That was what Gary Neville told me in a fascinating conversation we had on Talksport recently.

What do the FA hope to learn from Southgate? 

Sam Allardyce only represented himself and fell into the trap of his own greed. After his dismissal, the federation met with a Gareth Southgate who could follow the path that was initiated a few years ago, but nevertheless, he’s been appointed only as an interim manager for four matches: a friendly and three qualifiers (albeit against Scotland, Slovenia and Malta). I ask myself what the English FA will learn from the former Under-21 coach that they didn’t already know. Perhaps one thing: the team did not collapse in just one moment.

SinEngland's interim manager Gareth Southgate

England are still lost 

Here we find two of the biggest problems of English football: the lack of respect for the process and the fear that limits its potential. If only in England there existed a Johan Cruyff character who was respected by everyone (I would say there is a lot of talent in this generation of Dele Alli, Rashford, Dier, Stones, Sterling etc.). Someone who let the players grow, pressuring them yet turning the necessary pegs. Alas, such a character doesn’t exist, and meanwhile the car driving the English football team continues to be lost somewhere in the English countryside…