This article refers to a previous game. Read the latest England v Holland news here.
In a week’s time, England take on Holland in a friendly match at the Amsterdam Arena in Netherlands. Needless to say I wish I could be there, as much to party before the match as to get a chance to get wasted after the match.
Steve McClaren has had several weeks to ponder on what his ‘best step forward’ is going to be after the mess that Croatia was. It is not so much the fact that the media are waiting for a chance to attack McClaren but that the man who came bearing ‘change’ has only succeeded in providing us with more of the same, and when it really mattered, contrived to take England backwards instead of forward.
Macca’s audacious statement – that the senior players supported his decision to remove Beckham from the England squad, smacks of wordplay and mind games. You can never tell what the dressing room is like, but knowing Beckham, seeing him on the world stage for so many years, you know this is a man who gives his best in training and is quiet and decent off the pitch. A split in the squad? I doubt it, I seriously doubt it.
McClaren’s move to dump Beckham was risky – it was always going to be labelled as a PR exercise, but if it didn’t work out in England’s favour McClaren’s position would become very untenable.
Against Croatia, McClaren made big, big mistakes. If your match-winners are injured – Lennon, Gerrard, Cole, Hargreaves, Owen – don’t leave behind the one person who has won you so many matches single-handedly in the past.
Don’t change a winning formation if your players don’t have the ability to fight back when they are knocked down.
Don’t go into a game like this without a siege mentality.
The difference between club football and international football is best seen in Terry’s behaviour – he is fantastic for Chelsea, middling for England. Why? One manager get’s the best out of his players, the other manager is unable to.
Lest you think people are not giving McClaren a chance – realise that at this level, he doesn’t have the luxury of taking his time to get things right. His background – and the time he’s already spent as AM with the squad means that he doesn’t need to ‘get to know the players better’.
In a week, England play Holland. Lennon is back. Gerrard is back. Hargreaves is missing, but Carrick has hit good form. Cole is back. Neville is fit, so is Ferdinand.
Excuses? I don’t think we’re left with any.
No one expects to win each game, but you do expect your team to put up a fight.
Next Wednesday in Amsterdam, will England put up a fight, or come unstuck against van Basten’s young side?
Something tells me it will be more of the same – England’s stars turning it up and in the process hiding the team’s deficiencies for one more game.