England’s main problem? “The players aren’t very good”
Aside from a few younger faces, there wasn’t a great deal different about England under interim boss Stuart Pearce against Holland last night. There was the usual energy, and the usual lack of quality against top-class opposition. Sure, England came back from 2-0 down, but with an offside goal and because Holland took their foot off the gas. When the Dutch suddenly realised more was required, they duly found a winner. Here, the Life’s A Pitch team looks at the conclusions from the game, whether Scott Parker is the right captain, and which of the young players staked a claim for a regular start.
“The main problem for England is that the players aren’t very good,” explains the Times’ Rory Smith. “That was shown in the players who came on last night and the players who were present. The only one who Spain or Holland or Germany would look at and think ‘Yes, we quite like him’ is Wayne Rooney. The rest, decent Premier League players, but nothing better. And the fact that Scott Parker is captain – who is a decent Premier League player – is entirely fitting.”
That Steven Gerrard was overlooked as captain surprised a few, but Ian Ridley of the Daily Express believes Gerrard will perform well for England regardless of whether or not he is captain. “Gerrard is a titan of a player for England, he’s always lifted England even when England have been poor,” he says. “He needs to be a big part still – if he’s fit – of this England side, as a character and a player. The key at the moment is blending some promising young players, like a [Daniel] Sturridge and so on, with the best of the experienced. And Gerrard is clearly that. I personally would make Rooney my [long-term] England captain, simply because I think he would lift his performance levels for England. Gerrard doesn’t need to be captain, he’s a captain anyway.”
Talking of Sturridge, the Sunday Telegraph’s Duncan White believes the Chelsea frontman was the biggest plus of the night. “[Danny] Welbeck, [Chris] Smalling, [Micah] Richards are all coming on,” he says. “But for me, Sturridge was obviously the one who was most lively and direct. I don’t think he’s quite ready for first-team England, but he could be very useful as a pincher off the bench, a kind of impact substitute. He is very direct, he has quick feet, takes players on and offers something different. He certainly didn’t look overawed [by playing against World Cup finalists Holland].”
Watch the full video discussion by clicking on the image play button above.
Follow Life’s A Pitch on Twitter @BTLifesapitch
Not got BT Vision? Find out how to get it