Tuesday, 29 June 2010

Collective failure led to England’s demise.

Dejecte England players at full-time following the Round of 16 match at the Free State Stadium in Bloemfontein, South Africa on June 27, 2010. UPI/Chris Brunskill Photo via Newscom

England’s crushing and ultimately humiliating exit from the World Cup was the result of critical failure from all levels of the national game.

It is still fashionable to blame the manager for the Three Lions failure, but as each manager comes and goes - with the same problems remaining - we are now waking up to the fact that serious changes need to be made if we are to re-build the England team.

That is not to say Fabio Capello is blameless. His strict and authoritative approach went completely out of the window in the run up to the tournament. It seemed like he had a look at the squad and panicked, resulting in some bizarre team selections that went against his wise policy of only picking fit and in-form players. During the tournament when things went wrong his stubborn refusal to change the formation made England look dated and rigid. But when people mention Harry Redknapp as a replacement and keep a straight face, it is critical Capello keeps the job as there is no just one better qualified out there at the moment.

Tuesday, 22 June 2010

New Twidget on PMP

Apr. 04, 2010 - United Kingdom - Football - Everton v West Ham United Barclays Premier League - Goodison Park - 4/4/10..Everton's Phil Jagielka.

As you may have noticed I have added an excellent new Twidget on the left hand side bar of this site. It aggregates a number of excellent blogs (including this one!) and displays them in it's scrolling feed. It can also be found at sites such as footballfancast.com and football-talk.co.uk.
Thanks needs to go to the people at casino online for making the twidget possible

Shattered England divided by money and oversized egos

June 22, 2010 - South Africa - Football - England Training - England Team Camp, Royal Bafokeng Training Complex - 22/6/10..England's Wayne Rooney arrives for training.

Forget the scripted ‘apologies’ put forward by Wayne Rooney and John Terry this week. They were merely the FA’s attempts at firefighting the wreckage of England’s World Cup campaign.

No, the most eye opening revelation was Rooney’s impromptu outburst, spoken directly to the fans, at the final whistle in Cape Town on Friday.

There was Rooney without the backing of his media team, or the FA press officer, or his manager, it was his own views and I imagine one shared by the rest of the ‘senior’ (i.e. the most arrogant and therefore the most overpaid) players.

Are we surprised at the England crisis?

England's fans looks on dejected at the final whistle..FIFA World Cup 2010 Group C..England v Algeria..18th June, 2010.

Given the bouts of mass hysteria breaking out across the country, the inevitable war-related tabloid headlines and angry boozed up, flag-clad supporters, England’s slow and painful elimination from the World Cup must be nearing its depressing conclusion.

There is something incredibly predictable about what has happened over the past two weeks. The England players, with oversized egos massaged by their Premier League stardom, carried their overstated sense of entitlement and self-importance into a tournament they were always unlikely to win.

However, throw in a frenzied media determined to refer to either 1966 or the second world war in every other sentence and some washed up celebrities releasing ridiculous ‘Eng-gur-land’ songs, all of a sudden then nation began to believe the team could actually achieve something.

Friday, 11 June 2010

England Should Beware Slow Start (and Germany) in Rustenberg

Jun. 09, 2010 - Rustenburg, South Africa - epa02193380 England players Wayne Rooney (5L) and Frank Lampard (front R) jog with their team mates during their training session at Sun City in Rustenburg, South Africa, 09 June 2010, in preparation for the FIFA 2010 Soccer World Cup. England is in group C and will face the USA on June 12 at Royal Bafokeng Stadium in Rustenburg.

Whether it is the fear of losing, lack of fitness or early tournament nerves England have consistently struggled to grab all three points in their recent opening matches at International tournaments.

The predictions for the England squad are varied when you compare football opinion, but one is for certain and that's a quick look at the history books shows that since 1986 The Three Lions have only won their opener on two occasions – against Paraguay in 2006 and Tunisia in 1998.
The 1-0 victory over the South Americans in Germany was also the first time in that period England have won their first game and also gone on win their group.

Which Everton star will shine brightest in South Africa?

Australia's Tim Cahill is reflected in the water as he speaks to physio Phil Coles during a training session at Ruimsig Stadium in Roodepoort, just outside of Johannesburg June 7, 2010. Australia will play Germany in their opening World Cup 2010 soccer match on June 13. Picture rotated 180 degrees. REUTERS/Daniel Munoz (SOUTH AFRICA - Tags: SPORT SOCCER WORLD CUP IMAGES OF THE DAY)

With just days to go now until the big kick off a number of Everton players have touched down in South Africa in readiness for their countries’ opening matches.

But who will go furthest, whose reputation will be enhanced and who is using the tournament to engineer a transfer?

Here is how I think our international Toffees will progress:

Read the rest of this entry

Tuesday, 8 June 2010

David Beckham, Noel Gallagher, Ian Brown and Snoop Dogg in awesome Adidas advert

Yes the big guns are pulling out all the stops in order capture our attention during the World Cup ad breaks - to and from visits to the bar of course.
We have already seen Nikes effort, premiered (I can't believe adverts now have premieres!!) during the Champions League final and now we have the effort from everyone's favourite training shoe maker (well, mine at least). The fact that it parody's one of the most famous scenes from Star Wars,another favourite of mine, guarantees it will be a hit.

I just hope Beckham doesn't take up acting, even his one line was unconvincing. Still a great advert though!

Thursday, 3 June 2010

New Everton away kit 2010/11

It's er...interesting!

I can't really see electric pink going down well on the streets of Walton but as pointed out by a mate of mine similar coloured rugby shirts have sold well. But then as I pointed out, not many Everton fans like rugby.

I'll leave it to you to decide but it's safe to say I won't be buying!

If you however fancy a purchase skip over to the official site.

Wednesday, 2 June 2010

Royal Blue Mersey: Baines World Cup snub

Football - England v Mexico International Friendly

While much of the footballing World focused on Theo Walcott's exclusion from the England squad, I for one was still digesting the news that Leighton Baines had somehow missed out too....

I admit that Baines had a poor game in the recent friendly with Mexico. But he wasn't alone in that respect. Indeed his lack of experience should have excused him from the bulk of the criticism when you consider the likes of Michael Carrick, with 22 caps to his name, was just as poor yet finds himself on the plane.

What makes the decision even more bemusing is that his replacment, Stephen Warnock, played no part in England's recent warm-up matches.In fact he has only played five minutes of international football ever.

Read the rest of this entry.

The rise and fall of Theo Walcott

Theo Walcott England 2009/10

From England hero to England reject, it has been quite a couple of years for Theo Walcott.

The Arsenal winger was the headline making absentee from Fabio Capello’s England squad; paying the price for an indifferent 12 months with Arsenal, admittedly hampered by a succession of injuries.

Many Arsenal fans will not surprised at the decision. They have been underwhelmed by Walcott this year as he repeatedly failed to match his blistering pace with an end product (much like Shaun Wright-Phillips, who was included, but that argument is for another day).

But once again I feel Walcott has been a victim of English football’s media hype machine. Ever since Wayne Rooney, a once in a generation talent, burst onto the Premier League scene eight years ago, the press have been hungry to discover the next hidden gem, no matter how young they maybe.

Walcott stood out as a 16-year-old at Southampton, then a middle ranking Championship side. But a promising talent was all he was. Yet the sensationalist headlines soon followed making him out to be England’s next wonderkid.

But still, despite is raw talent, St Mary’s would have been the ideal place for Walcott to develop as player.

In his defence I think he then became a victim of circumstance. Firstly Southampton, heavily in debt, saw Walcott as an asset and when Arsenal came calling, they were only too happy to take the money.

All of a sudden Walcott was rocketed up into the Premier League’s top four, under a manager renowned for nurturing young talent. But he isn’t a Rooney or a Fabregas. Those two developed at much quicker rates than Walcott, yet he was judged like them and expected to hit the heights immediately.

Again things weren’t helped by his ridiculous inclusion in England’s World Cup 2006
squad. It was one of the final acts of a man truly losing the plot when Sven decided to include Walcott, despite never seeing him play and watching just half a training session.

Walcott’s image was racing way ahead of where he truly lay as a footballer. He was nowhere near international standard and to be honest, could have done with a few more years down out Southampton to aid his progress.

The ensuing years have been seen one injury after another and, one magic night in Zagreb aside, a stalling career that is threatening to never meet people’s sky high expectations.

His exclusion from the squad must now be turned into a positive. A clear summer to rest and re-cooperate before a committed bid to rediscover that lost potential.

Is Mourinho the right man for Real Madrid?

On paper it is a match made in heaven. In one corner we have Real Madrid, the biggest club in the world, a side with some of the biggest superstars on Earth, men who are used to winning trophies year on year but have recently been usurped by their bitter rivals.

In the other corner we have Jose Mourinho, the self-styled Special One - a born winner who has now won the domestic title in three different countries as well as the Champions League with two different clubs. If there is anyone who has the self-confidence, charisma and the CV to take on the job at the Bernabeu it is Jose.

Read the rest of this entry.