Can you hear that? A continual, grating noise emanating from South Africa. Annoying isn’t it?
No, it’s not the sound of 10,000 vuvuzelas but rather that of the English media sharpening their knives for Fabio Capello.
Yes, England have played one so-so game at the 2010 World Cup and they are already moving up through the gears of managerial persecution. Should England suffer further non-victory then full on hounding mode will soon follow.
Having done their orthodox “there go our brave boys to win the cup” build up, the media are now doing the equally predictable and equally execrable “the manager’s getting it all wrong, what’s he doing to justify his salary” thing.
This sort of nonsense won’t stop while you lot keep buying the papers and tuning in to Sky Sports News to catch the latest on what we can learn from watching SWP adjusting his socks during a training session. So I place the blame for this squarely on your shoulders, dear reader. Except that if you’re the sort of person who reads independant football blogs you probably know by now to ignore anything written by Henry Winter unless it squares with the urbane utterances of AC Jimbo.
So far, the gist seems to be that Rob Green’s clanger is Capello’s fault because he only told the players what the team was two hours before kickoff.
The resultant insecurity caused Green to lose his concentration and let the ball past him.
Either way, our brave journos now have Capello just where they want him – over a barrel. Whatever the England boss does from this point on, they can stick the knife in, unless of course England win 4-0.
If he drops Green, they accuse him of being too quick to abandon him. Expect to see an article about how Green’s confidence has been reduced to tatters by the Italian’s disciplinarian ways, leaving the West Ham man crying himself to sleep every night.
If Green plays the next match then Capello is too stubborn, refusing to admit he is wrong and undermining the confidence in the squad. Expect to see the same article, only this time about David James.
The poor passing in midfield is Capello’s fault for pairing Lampard and Gerrard together again. Their chemistry together is so bad that they just can’t pass to each other or anyone else properly.
Or it’s Capello’s fault because he keeps picking Emile Heskey. Or because he prefers playing a 4-4-2. Or because Rooney is not at his best. Or because England are shaky at the back.
None of this addresses what might actually be the fundamental problem. One that neither Graham Taylor nor Glenn Hoddle nor Kevin Keegan nor Sven Goran Eriksen nor Steve McClaren were able to solve. It is this:
The coaching offered to English footballers is geared solely to the hurly-burly Premier League and does not prepare them for the requirements of international football. At this level, our players are simply not good enough against higher quality opposition.
Capello might be making the odd mistake, but he can’t do anything about players for whom fundamental footballing matters such as the modern passing game are too much to comprehend.