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Slipperduke

The Camden Cad
Joined
Aug 24, 2004
Messages
4,333
Location
North London
The time for talking is over. Platitudes have no place on the pitch, especially when the going gets as tough as it will on Saturday night. Fabio Capello's England will be right up against it when they travel to Spain to face the butchers, bakers and candlestick-makers of Andorra's national football team. Yep, we're taking nothing for granted over here.

Ranked 182nd in the world, just below the Cayman Islands and right above Bhutan, Andorra held England for 59 soul-destroying minutes in March 2007, prompting a near-riot in the stands from the travelling England supporters. Steve McClaren's side were so desperately poor that Steven Gerrard had to resort to diving in the penalty area in an effort to avoid a humiliation that would have been without parallel in the history of global football. Eventually, the multi-millionaires managed to break the deadlock, ironically through Gerrard himself, but the damage to England's pride was already done. McClaren would never recover.

But those days are gone, aren't they? Aren't they?

Well, the early signs of Capello's reign are, despite what you may have read in the UK newspapers, reasonably encouraging. England, like a recovering drug addict, are being weened off those artless long balls and are beginning to play the ball out carefully from the back. Direct football is fine if you have a squad assembled to that end, but with the discovery that towering Dean Ashton is actually made of alabaster, England only have midgets to aim at. Capello is trying to encourage clever, short play, but that will only come with time and practice.

The tabloids went into meltdown after England's 2-2 draw with the Czech Republic in August, but you can only read so much into friendly games. Primarily, they are there for experimentation. England were lacklustre and short on ideas, so it's fair to say that the experiment failed, but at least Capello knows that now and can move on.

Sadly, England's problems cannot all be solved by a tactical reshuffle. Whatever shape Capello decides to go with, the players still have to perform as if they actually care whether it works or not. They have to accept responsibility for their failure to qualify for Euro08 and they have to prove that they are worthy of the support of the fans.

The worrying revelation that, during verbal clashes with his opposite number in March, Wayne Rooney insulted his tormenter and described himself as, "a star player," speaks volumes. To wear that mantle, you have to score some goals occasionally. You have to qualify for a tournament every now and then and you have to be able to face a team as inept as Andorra without your fans being concerned about the result.

Capello's biggest challenge is to convince his hubris-addled squad that they are not superstars yet. That challenge starts now.
 

Stats

aka Ian Poulter
Joined
Jan 23, 2005
Messages
5,029
Location
Parts Unknown
Jimmy Bullard, at least that man will be bothered about the game should he play. He's got to the top the hard way and has remained a pretty down to earth bloke in the process. Good on you Jimmy!!
 

MK Shrimper

Well-known member
Joined
Aug 6, 2005
Messages
52,329
Lol this game has 0-0 all over it and Capello walking!

England: Who gives a ferk?
 

Clinton Baptiste

Life President⭐
Joined
Apr 19, 2007
Messages
7,935
Location
Leigh
Bullard wont play it will be Barry and fat Lamps. We will scrape a 2-0 win, the press will go nuts, Capello will say there were lots of positives, we will then get battered by the Croats and Capello will be gone by Christmas.
 

Slipperduke

The Camden Cad
Joined
Aug 24, 2004
Messages
4,333
Location
North London
Bullard wont play it will be Barry and fat Lamps. We will scrape a 2-0 win, the press will go nuts, Capello will say there were lots of positives, we will then get battered by the Croats and Capello will be gone by Christmas.

I'm Ernst von Slipperduke and I endose this post.
 
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