After the resignation of Fabio Capello, it seems that yet again England will enter a major tournament in complete disarray. As of yet no permanent manager has been put in charge, with the team currently temporarily managed by Under-21 boss Stuart Pearce.
The public attention is on Harry Redknapp of Tottenham, the bookies’ and fans’ favourite to get the job permanently, but no official approach has yet been made by the FA. Redknapp has insisted though, that if offered the job he would not leave Spurs in the middle of a title challenge and would only consider taking the job come the end of the season. This would give him mere weeks to prepare a squad for the upcoming Euro 2012 in Poland and Ukraine.
Despite being hyped up as the only choice for the role, Redknapp doesn’t really seem to have all the credentials for it – he has also only won one trophy in his managerial career. The only reason any man should take the England job is to win trophies, but that doesn’t just happen over night. It takes years, even decades to prepare a team capable of winning a major international tournament. Redknapp at 64-years-old doesn’t really have the time left in his managerial career to develop and grow a squad worth major international credit.
I think it may take a long time for England to develop a squad capable of climbing the FIFA rankings and I’m not entirely sure we have the young players to win any tournaments in the foreseeable future. I can see England looking for a new manager again before the next European Championships.
I’m not suggesting that the young players we have coming through aren’t good but I can’t see them gelling in a way that will make us competitive in international tournaments. I’m certain however that some of the players that are coming through are destined to be great players. Alex Oxlade Chamberlain is probably the brightest young talent in Britain at the minute. He has talents in abundance and he already looks like the finished article, although hopefully he will improve in years to come. He is extremely fast, his overall distribution is superb and he has composure all over the pitch, including in front of goal. He seems more of a finished article than the last saviour of English football, Theo Walcott.
Tom Cleverley is another player who looks destined for great things. He plays like a young Paul Scholes, something which will be a great asset in the future. With Daniel Sturridge and Danny Welbeck growing and developing at the rate that they are, their pace up front is something to look forward to in years to come.
Phil Jones and Chris Smalling look to be the future of England’s defence, and that future looks to be a solid one. With two centre backs with great composure and general footballing ability, it would not be foolish to assume that England might be playing attractive football in the near future.
The average age of the England squad for the World Cup in 2010 was 28.7, the oldest in the competition. Since then Capello tried to lower the age of the team by introducing younger players, whilst keeping some of the more experienced members of the squad to help break the others in. Despite this step forward, I wonder why we haven’t taken the plunge rather than just dangling a toe in the water.
After the disaster of South Africa the majority of the senior players should have called time on their international careers. That was the time to fill the squad with young players and see what they could do at international level. In the short-term it may have been disastrous could have benefited the side vastly in the long-term.
This idea is similar to that of Spain’s. They loaded their team with exciting flair players and experienced but not senior internationals that were great at ball retention. The result has been evident for all to see. Not only do they have the best team in the world at the moment, but players such as Mata and Thiago look to be capable of cementing that place at the top of world football for many years to come. The England players aforementioned should be the ones to lead us forward, rather than aging players such as Gerrard, Barry and Parker.
Pearce may not be a bad choice for the job, at least on a temporary basis. As Under-21 manager, he may be the best person to judge which of the younger players deserve a place in the full England team. I doubt he could lead England into Euro 2012 though. Pearce is currently doing 3 managerial jobs: England caretaker manager, Under-21 manager and managing Team GB in the Olympics. This is a lot to ask one man to do in a summer which includes Euro 2012 and the Olympics. A better option would be for Pearce to works closely with whoever does take the job permanently, whether it be Redknapp or otherwise.
Regardless of who is in charge and who is in the squad, one thing is certain. Come the Euro 2012 warm-up matches, expectations will rise and the pressure will mount on England to perform. Whether or not we will is debatable. However, with the young talent England possess and with the right man in charge, I see no reason why the England can’t develop. Lets hope that we can grow and contest at major tournaments and prove once again that England truly is the home of football.