England Must Prioritise The Collective Over Individuals

This World Cup has demonstrated the potential for a team to be greater than the sum of its parts. Now England must learn that vital lesson, says John Nicholson...

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Comments 1 - 10 of (34)

prog1 (Manchester United) says...

John has a tricky philosophical problem. When the column started many moons ago it regularly featured exciting tales of rock n roll debauchery and rebellion. Rock groups rebel against convention - they are all about individualism and personal freedom of expression. Socialism is collective and anti-individual. There was a fascinating insight into the 'Northern Socialist' mindset in the recent 'Class of 92' - Mani complained that in the Thatcher years the government abandoned Manchester - and you know what "We just had to get on and do it ourselves". You could'nt make it up! It was of course the point - if you leave people alone they will flourish without guidance from the above.

Posted 11:50pm 25th June 2014

gordy (Leeds United) says...

I do agree that Rooney shouldn't have played, but to be fair the biggest issue was Gerards inclusion. He couldn't operate in the two man midfield and hence was ineffective, and he left our back four exposed, which was much more detrimental to the team than Rooney. Until we get the midfield right we will leave ourselves exposed, and will end up going out early in the rounds for ever more.

Posted 10:10am 24th June 2014

murray (Arsenal) says...

While I agree with JN (I often do but don't hold that against me) there are a couple points. 1. Many successful World Cup teams have been built around 1 or 2 world class players - the trouble is England don't have any world class players no mater how hard Man U and 'pool supporters may keep claiming that their particular man is. 2. We can all recall talented exciting players that don't fit into a system and so don't get picked - Matt Le Tissier anyone - when a dour team really could do with something special. I am sure JN has argued for the inclusion of 'big sexy' players in other articles.

Posted 1:39am 24th June 2014

valerian (West Ham United) says...

How many other teams in the World Cup are choosing not to play one their best players? England's problem is that our team is infected with fear. We expect to lose. We got back to 1-1 against Uruguay and then panic set in. We've never really got over 1970.

Posted 6:38pm 23rd June 2014

johnwolf (Wolverhampton Wanderers) says...

On the 20th of June John wrote You can pick it apart for as long as you want. We can have another root and branch review. We can blame anyone we feel inclined to blame, but beware of false prophets who think they know the answer. You don't have the answer. No-one has the answer. There is no answer. England rightly makes nihilists of us all. Now he's saying we must learn to play like a team and pander to the individual. Perhaps F365 mediawatch might want to take a look closer to home.

Posted 5:34pm 23rd June 2014

masmaz (Arsenal) says...

@Humpy good reference. Let's put one in a box with poison and uranium and see what happens. Will they be both hipster and not-hipster at the same time? Interesting paradox.

Posted 3:59pm 23rd June 2014

ronmanager says...

In bold caps: ENGLAND HAS NO SELF BELIEF. They do not take to the field with any confidence that they can win.. against anyone. Period. The most senior player, Gerard has not won consistently in his career and so cannot be expected to lead a team to a winning mentality. As an aside, they also are quite light on footballing talent at the moment and to be brutally honest also light on basic footballing smarts and any type of real fight. (I don¿t mean running around a lot and wrinkling your brows). I sometimes wonder about the dichotomy between Music and Football in England. England has produced some of the most insanely talented musicians the world has ever seen, producing music that can make the human spirit soar. Your musicians are confident, creative, larger than life talents. Simply put, in many respects, the contribution of English Music is unmatched by any other country. If only your footballers could have 10% of that self-belief. I listened to Ultravox¿s Vienna yesterday and it blew my mind all over again.

Posted 3:50pm 23rd June 2014

masmaz (Arsenal) says...

How many Hipsters does it take to change a light bulb?....Well I could tell but it's hard to explain and you probably wouldn't get it.

Posted 3:47pm 23rd June 2014

badwolf (Manchester United) says...

To be honest, I don't know why people are banging a drum about England's football being rubbish. It was a tough group, featuring two recently successful teams, us and a wildcard team who have beaten the two best teams in the group. And yet we should have had a better result (and did play well) vs Italy, and likewise should have beaten Uruguay aside from a penalty or two that wasn't, a red card that wasn't and an unfortunate through-ball. Yes weren't great but no we weren't an embarrassment. I disagree with many of the squad and tactical calls but we still played well just got unlucky against teams that are arguably better stocked than us. Simple as.

Posted 2:25pm 23rd June 2014

badwolf (Manchester United) says...

So... this was just a long winded way of banging the same Rooney out drum then? Rad... FYI, it helps more if you a few outstanding individuals rather than putting it all on one. I'm thinking Robben and Robin. That they could pass to each other (and others) helped. Rooney not being available for a pass from himself was the problem for us. A collective on its can do great things (Greece) but much better that the collective includes great individuals. Ronaldo was great at United and Real because he's part of a team. Sadly both Portugal and England lack the other top quality components.

Posted 2:24pm 23rd June 2014

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his is brilliant! All these years of moral ambiguity, grey areas of offence and context..now we have a simple, easy to follow guide to right and wrong. What did you do today? I kicked the face off a panda . Oh well, you didn't rape, kill anyone or abuse a minor, knock yourself champ.

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