Thursday, September 07, 2006

New Management, Same Problems?

Macca's Report Card:

I'm so pissed, cause I was halfway from completing and the computer hung and I HAD TO RE-TYPE ALL THIS. Whatever, I'll do it anyway.

So I sat down and watch England vs Macedonia just now. I wasn't impressed. Fair enough, a win away from home against a very difficult team to beat and 3 points secured. But why do I have this feeling that England hasn't move on from the Sven-age?

I must make myself clear once again:

1) This is NOT a knee-jerk reaction.

2) I'm not an England fan by all means. I just follow them and baffled at how poor they are some times.

My favourite writer over at F365 started his article today with these words:

Nothing has really changed. We've swapped a decent head of blonde hair for a few clumps of ginger. And that's it.

Wonderfully put and I have to say, I agree with him. I can't help but think why is England such an inconsistent side even though blessed with some really good players (some over-rated, but still pretty good).

It's still TOO early to judge whether McClaren will lead England onto greatness, or once again falling into mediocrity and fizzle out in every competition's quater finals on penalty shoot-outs. But I certainly sense similiarity between Macca and Sven's method of doing things and surely enough, I'd have to say it's not looking good.

The common qualm we have about the Swedish is that firstly, he's not English and I don't know much about the media environmet over in Britian, but certainly, it's not the nicest. Princess Diana got driven to her grave and Sven himself got tricked into the 'fake sheikh' saga, I must say the media doesn't help. IF Sven was the one leading England yesterday and they got that result, I would expect tabloids like The Sun to go 'SVEN OUT!' I'm not trying to be stereotypical, but it's so predictable.

Now McClaren, an Englishman at helm, and AH, everyone was well pleased. I've heard complains about Alan Hansen and a few other BBC pundits going ballistic on Sven and hailing Macca like the best thing since sliced bread. Biasness? I'm not too sure, but McClaren certainly made himself a darling to the media when he made David 'Goldenballs' Beckham his sarcrifice to the media, as if he was the main culprit for England's mediocre performance in Germany. That will make his life a little easier, especially more so for him being an English of course.

Then you have the manager-player relationship that puzzles some people. Sven adores Beckham and everyone knows it. Jermaine Jenas, I'm not too sure, maybe he knows Sven's mum but who knows. He once said Becks will be the first player on the team sheet and appointed Becks the captain (although I THINK it's Peter Taylor who handed him the armband first). So Sven stucked with Beckham through and through for the couple of years at helm regardless of his form or off field matters.

Then now McClaren seemed to have the same mentality, getting too close to a player. He seemed to fancy Stewart Downing a lot and Frank Lampard. It's worrying and I believe that when a player should be dropped, the manager must make the decision, be incisive and decisive. Downing used to play under Macca at Boro and we could safely say he understands him inside out. Maybe he rates him as a good player, but seriously, if he can't even get past the Macedonian defence and put at least ONE decent cross in, then Macca have to stop deluding himself and start to drop players who have no right to be in the team.

One reason why I respect Rafa as a manager is because he is not in Liverpool to make friends with the players like Houllier, but as a MANAGER. He admits that he's not close to any of the players and you could see that in his team selection. He's never afraid to drop players who are not at their tip top conditions or favourable form. When a player needs to be dropped, he ought to. Players like Lampard who hae so far been disappointing and giving excuses like ' the midfield is too busy so I can't get the ball' is utterly lame and it's time he is dropped too.

Some players never learn because they had the luxury to be in the national team without worrying about the coach dropping them and they start to get complacent. I wouldn't name names, but you and I know very well who those overpaid players are. They know the manager wouldn't drop them so they don't feel threatened and doesn't have to worry about 'fighting for a place'.

Then lastly, I believe he still hasn't sort out the Gerrard/Lampard problem yet. All he did was sweep the dust under the carpet and thinks everything is gonna be fine. It's okay to play Gerrard out on the right, because he's capable of playing ANYWHERE and he played there for Liverpool. It works against Greece and Andorra. But once again, what IF they're pit against Brazil or France. Is Macca gonna delude himself into thinking Gerrard is a a pure right-winger and he can do the job as well? I personally think not. Drop Lampard, shift Gerrard inwards, AND IT'S TIME TO START LENNON.

But IF I'm not wrong, he's the first manager to win the first two games? That's a pretty good start to his reign with the Three Lions and hopefully he learned from the mistakes Sven made and not to make them again. It's far, far too early to judge, with only 3 games played. But McClaren have to make a decision now, because this England team still looked a little disjointed and have to learn to pass the ball properly. Isn't football about passing the ball around and scoring goals? Till then, I'm out and sorry for the LONG post!

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