Better off out of it

While it would have been nice to see either or both of the Blues’ young Englishmen excel on the world stage, they were better off having played no part in Hodgson’s mess.

Lyndon Lloyd 28/06/2016 56comments  |  Jump to last

In the end, it was a tenure that went into a death spiral, hastened by perplexing tactics, stubborn persistence with certain personnel, worsening results and, though denied by many involved, a visible loss of respect on the part of the players in their manager.

It sounds an awful lot like the last days of Roberto Martinez at Everton but in this instance it was Roy Hodgson’s lamentable time at the helm of the circus that is the England team, one that ended as any fan on Merseyside who witnessed his awful spell at Liverpool would have predicted.

So much the better, then, that neither John Stones nor Ross Barkley played a single minute of the disaster that unfolded for England in France this summer. Neither Everton player will be the subject of the scrutiny, the hand-wringing and post-mortems already underway in the national press (well, Barkley is but he shouldn't be) and that will surely come as a relief given the examination that both players have already undergone from Evertonian supporters and commentators following a Premier League season of similarly awful under-performance by the Toffees.

Neither player has had an easy year of it, although both had their fine moments in an Everton jersey in 2015-16. Barkley was enjoying his best season for the Blues since breaking into the senior side under Martinez three years ago until the wheels fell off the Catalan’s tenure for good. And, while he struggled as much as any player in the second half of the campaign, he still travelled to Euro2016 as the midfielder with the most goals and most assists of any that did see action in the tournament.

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Stones, meanwhile, had largely recovered from a mid-season crisis of form and, Anfield aside, was looking to be getting back to something resembling himself by the closing weeks... that despite the team as a collective having gone into meltdown. How much he would have been able to prevent England’s collapse in France is debatable — his path to the team was blocked by two Hodgson favourites and it was going forward where the Three Lions team was found most wanting — but the last thing he would have needed (after last August’s transfer-request-related tribulations) was another trial by fire in the press.

Of course, unless he is convinced by the promise of the Farhad Moshiri era and Ronald Koeman’s reputation as one of the finest ball-playing centre-halves of his generation, by escaping Euro2016 with his reputation intact, Stones may still have a smooth passage out of Goodison Park to somewhere like The Etihad Stadium this summer.

If not, he will at least benefit from being untouched by England’s calamity and an early return from France, whereby he can join up with the Everton squad for pre-season in more timely fashion. Barkley, too, will benefit from settling back into club life sooner than would have been the case had England progressed further, where he can prepare for what could be his most important campaign since 2013-14.

As has been written before on these pages, the relationship between Everton and England has always been a complicated one... and that doesn’t look likely to change any time soon. While it would have been nice to see either or both of the Blues’ young Englishmen excel on the world stage and add another badge of experience to their still-young careers, t’was ever thus that they’re better off having played no part in England’s dismal implosion.

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Nick Armitage
1 Posted 28/06/2016 at 22:36:37
Both players in their best form that they have displayed for Everton, could have changed that result last night. Stones with his tempo quickening passing from the back and Barkley's ability to commit players at pace could have stretched the well organised Icelandic defence, but who cares? International football only gets interesting when there is no English interest.
Julian Wait
2 Posted 28/06/2016 at 22:58:10
I can enjoy the tournament now. Win-win from an Evertonian point of view.
Clive Rogers
4 Posted 28/06/2016 at 23:27:26
Hodgson obviously has favorites who he will play whenever he can. A bit like Martinez and Moyes really.

Hodgson took a half fit Wiltshire to the Euros and tried to get him match fit by introducing him during games and persisted with this even though he was obviously rusty, half fit and played poorly. He took Barkley whose form had dipped even though he had decided not to play him. It was a mistake not to take the in-form Drinkwater.

Andy Crooks
5 Posted 28/06/2016 at 23:48:23
Good piece, Lyndon. However, I believe that it is unlikely that our two lads will come back the same. I fear that there is a malign influence in the England squad that is more about Bentleys than integrity and decency.


Olalekan Taofik
6 Posted 29/06/2016 at 00:31:03

What a fountain pen you have, Lyndon.

Our players didn't play and so they are out of the blame. Let them rest a bit and join the team for pre-season.

You English people should not think deeply about your ouster because it is expected that you would not progress beyond tehe 2nd round. Or were you fans more???

Laurie Hartley
7 Posted 29/06/2016 at 00:35:34
Lyndon regarding your comments about the England / Everon relationship, what makes that even more confusing is that I think Everton had more Englishmen in their first team squad last season than any other Premier League club.

Time to get behind Barkley and Stones.

Bobby Thomas
8 Posted 29/06/2016 at 00:52:15
I don't know if Stones would have made much difference. England are missing an organiser, someone dominant, and that isn't Stones. The three centre halves he took are all best playing off someone else.

Ross may have provided something different, off the wall. But he also would have been more of the same, a central ball player. Picking a squad of 22 players and leaving yourself that short of width and players that can beat people is very poor management.

Barkley must have only just made the squad, he didnt involve him. With Rooney playing mid why he took him at the expense of width I don't know. He ended up shovelling strikers, none goal scoring attacking midfielders (Lallana), or a confidence shot Sterling into a 4-3-3.

They were out of ideas after an hour against Iceland.

Danny O'Neill
9 Posted 29/06/2016 at 01:25:22
On the relationship thing, is it just me or perhaps a generational thing, but haven't Evertonians by and large always been rather detached / uninterested / not bothered about the England thing?

Clearly I can't speak for everyone but it certainly seemed like that when I was growing up and I would add our home-based red cousins to that mould too.

I can't associate with England football; for me (and I confess to stereotyping here so no offence meant) it represents overly agressive, tattooed men, predominantly from the south east of England chanting unimaginative "songs"(?) whose focus more often than not is abusing the opposition... insert supporters of most London teams. Not for me, welcome back unscathed Ross and John, both physically and reputationally.

Peter Fearon
10 Posted 29/06/2016 at 02:51:21
England is just another London club. They play all their home matches there, their supporters are there and there is a generalized bias in selection of players from southern clubs plus Manchester Utd which we all know is itself a London club that plays up Norf.

I would prefer Everton players were not risked in these matches. Who do these international teams really represent anyway. Many players who represent national side only have tenuous links to them. Messi for example, has lived in Spain since he was a child and only visits Argentina to play football. We all know about that shit Diego Costa's feelings for his native Brazil.

Bob Butchard
11 Posted 29/06/2016 at 04:18:28
Take a long hard look at skill factors, beginning with the very basics that professional players should have in their tool boxes.

Kane taking corners (not particularly well) when he is among the tallest strikers(?) on the park. Just crossing a ball in general play, so called wing/backs couldn't pick a player out if they were on their own in the box. Talk about overrated.

Goal side positioning, (see Iceland's goals), positioning at corners and free kicks? Junior coaches, even part-time dentists could do better. Overpaid, overrated and they'll all be turning out in just over month to kid the public they are worth the funny money they earn. Pathetic!

Darren Hind
12 Posted 29/06/2016 at 06:12:06
Title says it all for me Lyndon.

Although I share Andy Crook's fears. Our boys journey with the games most prominent material girls was mercifully cut short, but how long before the malign influence he speaks about starts rubbing off ?

As long as England play with two lumps at the back they will continue to be predictable. As long as they leave out players like Drinkwater in favour of more illustrious names, they will leave the party early.

Taking nothing away from Iceland they were terrific, but a decent manager with a decent set up could have sent twenty different teams over there and every one of them would have beaten Iceland.

There is something rotten about the England set up, The London press pick the team even though the manager is usually the highest paid in the world. top players (often world class) are happy to reap the rewards of being selected but completely unable to do the basics in a team which always seems to be divided by North/south East/West factions.

England havent had a team since Alf Ramsey was prepared to tell the press to go fuck themselves when they hounded him leaving out the superstars. Glen Hoddle came close, he left out Gazza in favour of the team, but his foolish comments gave the hacks their chance to oust him.

England need a manager not a diplomatic lap dog. I want somebody who will stare down the pundits and the press and say "fuck you". . I would honestly love to see somebody like Nigel Pearson get the job . . . Then I'd watch

Darren Hind
13 Posted 29/06/2016 at 06:20:28
watching SSN. Gareth Southgate is strong favourite to get the job next.

Why don't we look at out Rugby team ? after years of nice failure, they went and got themselves a winner. He doesnt always say the right things, but fuck me does he win

Peter McHugh
14 Posted 29/06/2016 at 06:51:36
Funny that Hodgson had a prepared resignation script. Unbelievable.
Paul Andrews
15 Posted 29/06/2016 at 06:55:37
Good article as ever, Lyndon. Hopefully Stones and Barkley will have a good pre-season and Everton benefit.

Looking ahead at the tournament, it's fascinating to see the usual machine of Germany and the flair of the home nation. Will either of them they get past the three lumps of Italy?The best defensive unit in world football.

It will be very interesting to watch.

David Chait
16 Posted 29/06/2016 at 06:59:46
My take is yes, 2 of the presses favourite scapegoats did not have to endure the negative press thrown at some of their peers.
But I would put a lot of money on it they would both like to have been given the chance to play and both would believe they could have made that difference.

I think they will both come back mentally a little down. Your team losing and you don't even get a game. That can hurt I'm sure.

I sat and watched every game in the hope to see game time, especially from Barkley. Sure he might have not turned it around.. but what if he had? The 5 minutes Rashford got enhanced his reputation.

It was telling to me that when the panels discuss options I rarely (if ever) heard them mention bringing on Barkley. I couldn't understand it was like he had become anonymous when he WAS the go to guy for any game changing actions needed.

No.. I would have preferred them to play.. why? Because I believe in them and believe they are exactly what England needed.

Rick Tarleton
17 Posted 29/06/2016 at 07:01:51
A manager has to have a tactical vision and he must select and have the players to carry it out. An obvious truism: Iceland had a plan and the players knew what they had to do, Italy similarly are brilliantly organised. England had no plan. Hodgson changed his ideas more frequently than he lisped.
He selected a squad overloaded wth strikers and central mid-field players, his full backs could attack , but couldn't defend and were supposed to provide the width.In fact, he picked those players that the press were impressed wirth and hoped their talent would do the job. It didn't.
Hodgson failed the basic manager's test of picking those players to fit his system and coaching them to know their roles within the system. He was afraid to leave big names behind and afraid to drop them when they failed to perform. Kane was manifestly leg-heavy and lost, Sturridge not match sharp, Alli, merely a darling of the press who flashily did nothing, certainly had no idea how to run or even contribute to the efficiency of a cohesive midfield. Rooney wasn't worth a place in attack or midfield, Hart was making basic errors. Yet Hodgson persisted with them.
Hodgson had failed at Anfield to provide a coherent vision and he failed again. Whoever is the manager of club or country he must have a recipe and bake the cake, not just throw the ingredients in the mixing bowl.
Keith Harrison
18 Posted 29/06/2016 at 07:40:39
Darren, he does say the right things mate. Check the BBC sport online pages for any post match interviews on the Rugby section. He is always bullish, but honest. A watered down Aussie, maybe because of his Japanese mother.
I have said on here for ages that he is a superb example of what a decent coach can do with the same team as his predecessor. I think RK will do that with our team.
As for England football, until those in the corridors of power make a quantum leap into the 19th century, a safe option will always be on the cards. Brian Clough was the one shining example of their fear of mavericks.
I personally think Shearer and someone alongside him would do a job. Forget his Newcastle relegation - they were virtually down when he was asked to plug the gap.
Don't touch Redknapp with a barge-pole. His offshore dealings showed him for what he is - a used car salesman. He would be trying to get the opposition players on loan in the tunnel at Internationals. He also has more favouritism to players than Woy ever had. He must have bought and sold Crouch and Defoe about a hundred times.
Like you say mate, I'm not arsed about England football until they get a Worthington type who can sort the pampered pussies into a coherent team who play for the shirt. Maybe then we will be hoping that players like Tom Davies et al are selected, instead of being glad our boys aren't tarnished by the moniker 'England International'.
Ste Traverse
19 Posted 29/06/2016 at 07:43:09
Hodgson deserves all he got with him complete and obvious obsession with Tottenham players. A shower who bottled the title last season and ended up finishing 3rd in a 2 horse race.

I felt sorry for our lads not kicking a single ball, but at least they'll now escape the post-mortem with their reputations still in-tact.

That said, I think they were both a touch fortunate to make the squad.

Hodgson made so many errors there's not enough space to mention them all, but England losing hardly hurts like when the Blues lose so roll on August and the new Premier League season

Steve Pugh
20 Posted 29/06/2016 at 07:59:38
How many Evertonians were disinterested in 86 when injury to Robson and the sending off of Wilkins led to all four Toffees taking the pitch and turning round Englands fortunes?
Les Green
21 Posted 29/06/2016 at 08:05:39
I noticed that leaving Baines out also left him short of a specialist deadball operator. Why on earth would anybody put Kane and Rooney on taking corners, when they should be in the box, waiting for the ball. Mental
Keith Monaghan
22 Posted 29/06/2016 at 09:25:08
Peter Fearon @10 - I hadn't noticed that Liverpool FC is also in London?!
I'm pleased that our players weren.t on the pitch - reality is that there are no top class English wingers or midfielders - the responsibility lies with the FA for giving control of our top league to the Premier League clubs, who for years are developing far too few English players. Look at how many English players start EPL games regularly. Look at Sterling's "progress" since he became a part-time player!
Tony Waring
23 Posted 29/06/2016 at 09:26:29
Steve (20) - yes but that was 30 years ago and England was a very different place but I see what you're getting at. These days I find it difficult to get excited about the national team for all the reasons given on this thread. I'm sticking with the Blues.........always more to get excited about !
Tony Waring
24 Posted 29/06/2016 at 09:32:48
I appreciate this is about England but one of the tournament's hot favourites crashed out. Has anyone any ideas about the reasons for Spain's collapse ? They are/were one of the best teams in the world but Italy really gave them a going-over the other night
Ray Roche
25 Posted 29/06/2016 at 10:03:58
Steve#20

Yes Steve, we certainly got interested when at long last, and only due to injuries and suspension, Everton's finest eventually got a game! That was the era when we were dominating domestic football yet the England manager, Robson,only went to watch Everton when they were playing near his home in Ipswich in the November, a fact that was ridiculed in the National press at the time. Like the dickhead who has just been ousted he preferred to risk his favourites despite their injury fears, (for Wishire read Robson) and brought Reid, Steven etc. into the team versus Paraguay when he had no other choice.

Martin Nicholls
26 Posted 29/06/2016 at 10:05:47
Don't disagree much of what's posted above - in particular I love description of the stereotypical England fan by Danny#9! To the extent that I was ever an England fan 1996 Euros was last time I took much interest. Agree that Ross and Stonesy should be excluded from the critical postmortems but suspect many will simply recall them as being in squad and conveniently forget that neither got to kick a ball!
As to uneasy relationship between Everton and England, it was ever thus - can't forget that Bob Latchford, despite being the supreme goalscorer in English football for 8 years (and being able to walk on water!) got only 12 caps.
Laurie Hartley
27 Posted 29/06/2016 at 10:10:53
I emigrated to Australia in 1973 but watching the events of the last few days has left me feeling sorry for the people of England

As a 17 year old I saw England win the 1966 World Cup final on the TV and can remember how excited and proud I felt about it all. This is the team that played in the final against West Germany.

Gordon Banks
George Cohen
Jack Charlton
Bobby Moore
Ray Wilson
Nobby Styles
Alan Ball
Bobby Charlton
Martin Peters
Geoff Hurst
Roger Hunt

I can tell you that team would have run rings round the England team that got knocked out by Iceland. None of the players who lost yesterday, with the possible exception of Rooney, would have got a game in 1966.

They were men each and every one of them who gave everything for the England shirt and they had a manager who they respected and who out thought the opposition.

It was a perfectly balanced team with players coming from all over England. Yes 3 from West Ham and 1 from Fulham but they all deserved their place. Those men made me proud to be English - and the whole country was behind them.

Today in contrast English football is tearing itself apart and the rest of the world is gloating. Even though I left England 43 years ago that still does my head in.

What the England team needs is a manager that will pick a team to win, not one that the media or popular opinion promotes - and a manager that will make the players feel proud to pull on that England shirt.

Sam Allardyce fits that mould - he would have had Danny Drinkwater and Mark Noble in his team no question about it. Why? - because they are made of the same stuff as Nobby Styles.

Allardyce, Pardew, and Pulis (I know he's Welsh) get some hammer - they are not renowned for putting out entertaining teams but I often wonder what they might have achieved if they had had access to a higher calibre of player. I am pretty sure anyone of them would have picked a totally different squad than Hodgson from the current crop of English players playing in premiership teams.

Forster
Simpson
Shawcross
Stones
Baines
Noble
Drinkwater
Shelvey
Barkley
Carrol
Vardy

That team would have torn Iceland apart but the papers and FA wouldn't like it - too old and not glamorous enough. Play to your strengths (if you want to win).

Paul Kennedy
28 Posted 29/06/2016 at 10:38:07
Was Hodgson as bad as Martinez? Both delusional, talk a load of crap, play people out of position, not a clue about tactics, keep playing out-of-form players and ultimately lose.

I think Martinez had more personality than Roy but who was worse?

Paul Black
29 Posted 29/06/2016 at 10:53:45
Olalekan, 6...

Have a rest from what?)

Jay Woods
30 Posted 29/06/2016 at 10:58:23
England would get further in these tournaments if they selected mostly Championship players instead of the Premier League ponces. More a dogs of war vibe than a racehorse one.
Ray Said
31 Posted 29/06/2016 at 11:12:14
Well put Peter (10) and I could not agree more. Media, sponsors and old fellers in blazers pick the national team. If your face is selected by the sponsors for the posters, adverts etc six months before the squad is announced then you are going even if your leg falls off.
Jay Woods
32 Posted 29/06/2016 at 11:30:06
Laurie Hartley, apologies, I hadn't seen your post when I made mine. Good points, you make.
Trevor Lynes
33 Posted 29/06/2016 at 11:38:45
That 1966 side had players who would have been sent off long before the final.Styles would have been gone during the match against Portugal.

I am afraid that we do not produce play makers in the modern game who are British.Shelvey I admit would be a far better bet than Wilshire who was a liability.Unfortunately the best schemers and ball players are foreign and our players tend to give them the ball and let them make the incisive passes.In that England set up we had no one who could provide the correct passes to create chances.We did not miss chances against Iceland because we did not create them in open play.If there had not been a penalty we would never have scored.We seem not to be able to make Mahrez, Payet, Modrich, Ozil, Kroos, Iniesta, Silva, Fabregas type players in this modern game.Since Scholes and Gerrard we have not found a player to take their place.Suarez, Sturridge and Sterling played well for Liverpool with Gerrard supplying the ammunition.Scholes made every front man loads of goal chances at Man Utd and scored a few screamers himself.We seem to have a conveyor belt of 'Drones' who work and run up and down but who cannot pass or shoot.The manager took his selection of players mainly from the club sides who had a decent season.Wilshire was the only one who had hardly played and was a big surprise selection IMO.I would have preferred Shelvey or Drinkwater as both have showed that they can pass the ball.Until our coaches can produce real ball players who can pick a pass and beat their man in one to one situations we will continue to struggle.Our rich clubs will continue to buy foreign stars to the detriment of our academy kids unless a top class youngster forces his way through from the ranks.Where are our NEW Scholes....Everton fans are crying out for a hero who can excite the fans and bring success.

Dean Peamum
34 Posted 29/06/2016 at 11:44:31
Lyndon

"..t’was ever thus that they’re better off.." Not Bard methinks.

Geoff Williams
35 Posted 29/06/2016 at 12:17:23
I am surprised that Shelvey has been mentioned here. He wasn't a Swansea regular at the time of his transfer to Newcastle and Benitez dropped him at the end of the season.
Conor Skelly
36 Posted 29/06/2016 at 12:34:34
I like that team, Laurie. Somebody used a great analogy before about how you don't bake a cake by throwing the most expensive ingredients you have together and hoping for the best. The team you have named has balance. It's totally counter intuitive but is completely logical.

My team (4-4-2):

Forster
Clyne
Dann
Stones
Creswell
Tom Davis (CM)
Barkley (RM)
Drinkwater (DM)
Rashford (LM)
Carroll
Vardy

Steavey Buckley
37 Posted 29/06/2016 at 12:36:16
In many ways, England played like Everton when Martinez was in charge: no clear direction, slow play, full backs made to committ going forward because of no width, centre backs left isolated and players praised by the Hodgson when in fact they were poor.
Terry Underwood
38 Posted 29/06/2016 at 13:51:15
I can only agree with most of the previous posts. Woy took what was perceived to be the best bunch of individual players, not the best team.

Drinkwater may not be the best, most highly rated midfielder, but he increases Vardy's effectiveness because they play together every week. Iceland proved that a teams value can be greater than the sum of it's parts. England started with a CF on the RW and a twat on the LW. No wide attacking players in the squad??????

Dave Roberts
39 Posted 29/06/2016 at 16:48:06
Let's just settle a minute and take stock of what really is wrong with English football and English footballers.

It's been 50 years since England won the World Cup and when they did the powers that be in the game, including the media (although I agree the media should NOT be a power in the game but unfortunately it is) believed that England had then regained its pre-eminence in the game that we never really believed we had or should have lost. It's that typical English arrogance again. Having regained that pre-eminence it was felt that it would never be surrendered again and that trophies into the future would surely be the norm. Four years later, in Mexico, a team that was as good as anybody in the tournament was ousted because of Banks' absence, his replacement by a much inferior goalkeeper who made many mistakes on the day, poor and needless substitutions when winning easily and a hefty slice of bad luck.

As an England fan in those days, as well as everybody else I knew, I recognised that and believed wholeheartedly that England still had one of the best teams in the world and that it had been somewhat unlucky not to at least get to the final. Brazil would have had a much more difficult game than they had against Italy if England had done so. But the media were not so forgiving. Ramsey's substitutions became the catalyst for an incredible amount of criticism from the media, a level of criticism that the 'fans' did not necessarily share. As far as the media were concerned, Ramsey's card was marked because he had not ensured the continuance of England's 'superiority'.

From that moment on the media tried, with some success it has to be said, to take control of the England team. Every defeat was met with derision. Managers, whether they deserved it or not, were castigated for every perceived failure of result or style. The media believed that hype could encourage the team and sell newspapers and proclaimed before tournaments how we were going to win them, sometimes in revenge for Dunkirk or whatever, only for the derision to return when they failed. This meant, because people, players and managers really do believe that the media reveals the minds of the masses, the team were always under an incredible amount of pressure. To wear an England shirt was like living in a pressure cooker when even victories were criticised if they did not meet the stylistic standards demanded.

You just can't play your game in an England shirt as you do for your club consistently under those circumstances. Fear rather than pride becomes the overriding emotion. You know that everybody 'back home' is expecting something to be happy with and woe betide you if you don't provide it.

England CAN produce the players. We did in 1970...we did to a certain extent in 1986. We certainly did in 1990 when during the tournament and despite a poor start we became the best team in my view. In 1996 we were incredibly unlucky. In 2002 we should have done much better. But many times between there have been lapses but all teams have lapses. Where are Brazil now? Holland?

We CAN produce the players. What we cannot produce is a winning mentality within those players once they pull on an England Shirt. What we also lack most of the time are managers with guile and with an ability to set us up with an 'England' style and an ability to pick the players to fit into that style rather than trying to make a style out of the players he and the media think he should choose. What we also lack most of the time is a management prepared to look beyond the usual clubs for players and possessing the courage to tell the media to fuck off when they try to pick the team rather than feeling he has to appease them.

But...We can produce the players. We just have to learn how best to use them and treat them.

Keith Glazzard
40 Posted 29/06/2016 at 17:32:23
Hitler's Reaction To The Result is doing the rounds on fBook at the moment. Well worth a look if you haven't caught up with it, easy to find on youtube I would think.
Did an Evertonian make it? Some other NW clubs come in for a bit of stick.
Ray Robinson
41 Posted 29/06/2016 at 18:41:14
Conor #36, I found myself agreeing with what you were saying and then, in my opinion, you shot yourself in the foot by nominating Tom Davies. Unless there's another player called by this name that I don't know about, you surely don't mean the promising lad that played one full game (and came on as sub in another) for Everton, do you? Talk about going overboard!

Ok, I get it - you were joking.

Ian Pilkington
42 Posted 29/06/2016 at 22:24:40
The strange failure of England managers to select Everton players goes back much further than Bobby Robson in 1986, to the days of Alf Ramsey. How about Jackie Charlton preferred to Brian Labone in 1966? Colin Harvey (1 cap v Cyprus) and Howard Kendall, never selected? Three of the biggest injustices in England history.
Ste Traverse
49 Posted 29/06/2016 at 22:44:03
Er, I think we all heard you first time around, Ian.
Danny O'Neill
50 Posted 29/06/2016 at 22:44:17
Ian,

I agree with all 7 of your posts!

On a serious note, you highlight further evidence. It's not paranoia and it's not conspiracy theory thinking; it's just a consistent theme of the Everton-England relationship throughout the course of the past several decades.

The England football team belongs to the London press and its predominantly south-east fan base (with pockets of West Midlands and Yorkshire elements thrown in). They're welcome to it and I've personally been looking forward to MK Dons away next month.

They can go on about managers all they like but until the country addresses the dire situation at grass roots we won't produce players who can compete on the same level of their German, Spanish, Italian and Belgium (yes Belgium....who'd have said that a decade ago?) counterparts.

Premier League clubs would pull through, develop and play more English players if the system was producing them on a scale of the country's mentioned above. It isn't so they go elsewhere to find them.

The FA invests at the top; a multi-million pound complex that the tiny fraction of those who make it through benefit from. Build the roof first then lay the foundations - an arse about face business model. Meanwhile, most of us are trying to coach kids to play technical football on mud whilst their continental counterparts train on clay and 5G.

Jamie Crowley
51 Posted 29/06/2016 at 23:14:25
Laurie -

I'd tweak a few things with your lineup, but it frankly is exactly what England needed, and exactly what no English manager seemingly has the guts to do:

Pick a side that isn't full of prima donnas but rather a side that has heart, talent, and is balanced.

England are a mess and until they appoint a manager who isn't in awe of the "big" clubs and doesn't play fantasy football manager they are doomed.

Jamie Crowley
52 Posted 29/06/2016 at 23:15:20
Ian -

Drink a glass of water upside down and take a teaspoon of sugar and those hiccups will stop.

Mike Hughes
53 Posted 29/06/2016 at 23:18:41
Attracted by the headline and anticipating a serious, high brow debate on Brexit, I am a tad disappointed to read this England shit.

I bid you all a good evening.

Chris Owens
54 Posted 29/06/2016 at 23:22:41
Bobby Charlton said the England 1966 World Cup winning team would have beaten Iceland 1-0.
"Only 1-0?", he was asked.
"Yes, we're all in our 70s now".
Conor Skelly
55 Posted 29/06/2016 at 00:03:35
I'm biased, Ray.

Take out Tom Davies and put in Jason Puncheon.

Paul Andrews
57 Posted 30/06/2016 at 06:02:42
Read Jamie Carragher's article on the pampering of acadamy players. That tells you all you need to know.

On the debate re the current best eleven. The most important thing in international football, according to some coaches, is to play with ball playing centre halves, not proper defenders like the Italy back three.

With that in mind I would suggest England in future use John Stones and Eric Dier as a sweeper. They would get twatted every game but it would be thrilling to watch them carry the ball out of the back four.

Rick Tarleton
58 Posted 30/06/2016 at 07:07:44
Talking of the FA investment in Burton, my grandson was taken there by his Evertonian dad for a birthday present, photos with John Stones's and Ross Barkley's England shirts on FB.

My son was told it was used by England's rugby players, by England's women's team, by England's age group teams and above all by Burton Albion. The one group who aren't keen on using it were apparently England's men's team. It was too remote!

Interesting perspective on our football stars, I think.

Amit Vithlani
59 Posted 30/06/2016 at 08:39:04
Agree with Andy (#5). There is something wrong with the spirit and set up. The FA has become a corporate and the England Manager an Executive.

Time and again, we have seen England bottle it when the pressure is on. I used to think 15 years ago that it was a lack of talent but it is not the case anymore.

I look at Italy – least talented squad they have sent for a long time – and the passion and team spirit they displayed so far has been superb. Ditto Iceland and Wales.

Those saying the Premier League ponces lack the heart may have a point.

Dale Rose
60 Posted 30/06/2016 at 08:53:26
Good article, yet another piss poor display. I'm glad our lads weren't part of it. Same old England, I'm surprised Roy didn't fly Heskey in. I'm sure however his £4 million a year wage packet softened the blow. Is football the only game in the world where failure is rewarded?
Charles Barrow
61 Posted 30/06/2016 at 10:53:37
Considering the 'little' teams do so well with part timers, league one players, players from obscure leagues etc – I propose the next England squad is picked exclusively from the Championship downwards.

I really think they would get further in a tournament than all those Premier League dickheads, who really only want to spend more time polishing their Bentleys (or watch someone else polish it for them!).

Chris Wright
63 Posted 01/07/2016 at 15:05:59
As said England rugby doing well under an Aussie coach, and England cricket doing well under an Aussie coach, maybe Tim Cahill should be the new football coach. I may even start watching a bit more then.
Phil Walling
64 Posted 02/07/2016 at 20:02:03
Charles, I read that there are only 21 Welsh born players on the books of Premier clubs of which only 12 made a first team start last season. And the FA complain there isn't enough Englishmen to choose from !
Ian Riley
65 Posted 10/07/2016 at 21:44:47
No leaders!
No Hunger!
No desire!
No basic ball control!

Something to build on there!!!

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