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Changing of the Guard

Tuesday 3rd July 2012
What next for England?

After seeing an almost historical hazard occur again on penalties as England players and followers saw their team crash out of the Euro's.

Many a faithful fan has turned into a pessimist as each tournament has turned from hopeful to failure and after each tournament there is a rite of passage, as the old guard retire or are removed from the squad.

This process is known as the ‘Changing of the guard' which often involves an exodus of players who are in the swansong of their career.

Unlike years past England's squad is not ripe with players over the hill but questions have to be asked about the players that performed and the players who didn't.

England will more than likely have to remodel the defence by the time the 2014 World Cup begins, with at least three of the four back four who started against Italy in their 30s.

Ashley Cole has been a stalwart defender for the Three Lions with over a 100 England caps, he has singlehandedly defended the left flank against the likes of Luis Figo and company.

John Terry has also showed that he still has the class that made him a great player, one of the consistent defenders in an often shaky back four. Yet the man in question splits opinion as no-one doubts his performances but doubt his moral fibre.

Another question that has arisen from the England's final hours in the tournament is can Steven Gerrard still play at the highest level and turn out performances? For club he has been an inconsistent entity being placed in the squad when barely fit! A lot of his performances have been below par, fortunately Hodgson knew of his capabilities and made him captain.

In all Gerrard's tournament can be considered a success as he proved to be the vital cog in an often un-oiled England machine. He was even likened to the class figure of Andrea Pirlo who pulled left and right over the pitch. Gerrard has confirmed that he will stay on as captain.

Yet with the mass Exodus who can fill the void? Jordan Henderson, Phill Jones, Chris Smalling and Leighton Baines: All of have appeared on the national stage and none of have stood out and shone.

Smalling and Jones have always looked solid at the back but can they perform when it comes to the biggest stage of all? They are the future so is it time Hodgson put trust in them. Many believe they are too inexperienced but there used to be a belief that if a player had talent then he would shine on any stage he was put in. This is how the Busby Babes were formed and many other great teams in the last 100 years of English Football.

Yet it stands to reason that England as a country have not been producing the same calibre as players that we once were. Gone are the days of Duncan Edwards, Bobby and Jack Charlton, Geoff Hurst.

Gone are the glory days as England are forced to look to the next tournament after another failed attempt.

Phill Inman
I'm 23 years old and followed football all my life. Still waiting for my talent and prowess to get spotted on the pitch, until that happens I hope you enjoy reading my articles.

Total articles: 17

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