We may be good; but we are not world class. The performances that saw us beat Montenegro and Poland last month are just forgotten memories as England were shown to be an average side against both Chile and Germany in the past week. Following the 2-0 defeat to the South Americans last Friday, England was put to the sword by an arguably German “B” Team yesterday evening, 1-0, at Wembley.
How can a nation go from feeling confident of making the semi-finals at least a month ago to feeling England may struggle to get through to the quarters today? Well we got our answer to that question yesterday. We simply haven’t got a world class team like Germany, Spain and Brazil who have depth of talent, enough to make three different teams. England have an ageing Steven Gerrard and Wayne Rooney. That’s it for now.
Chile were a clever team that were just too good for our back line. Germany on the other hand were well… boring. They drove to score and then were more disciplined in defence to deny England a chance of equalising. The thing that was disappointing about the result was not just the goal, but the fact Germany were without Neuer, Schweinsteiger, Gomez, Lahm and others. They were a younger much braver side. It showed us just how good German football is progressing.
This again links back to the question to whether England and the Premier League should bring in a maximum amount of foreign players in a squad so more English and British players can develop. Only 26% of players in the Premier League are English. That’s outrageous. We need to take a step towards the future like Spain and Germany have done and they now have the world’s best two young player development in World Football.
If I had to place England in a tier of world football we would be tier 3 or just peak into 2. We are nowhere near the likes of Spain, Germany, Brazil and Argentina. France, Holland, Russia, Chile and Uruguay make up some of the band two teams who would give us a scare. For me, we are similar to teams like Sweden, Greece and Portugal, average at best. We have enough to qualify to major tournaments but not enough to progress in them.
That could all change in the next few years though if we work on developing the younger players. Russia may seem a bit too close but definitely Euro 2020 should be a tournament we are looking towards to mount a serious challenge on. Players like Ross Barkley and Andros Townsend need to progress and be steadied into the side regularly over the next couple of years so that they hit their prime along with players with similar ages and a little order to create that winning balance of players.
So until then England fans… don’t get disappointed on another quarter final defeat in Brazil if that happens, for us that will be a achievement. No more pressure, we aren’t the team we used to be. But we can be again in the next few years…