Mails: Is this England’s nicest ever squad?

Date published: Wednesday 18th November 2015 3:06

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Simple equation
England defeated France who defeated Germany. England > Germany.
Michael, Lagos.


Give the kids a chance
Dave, Zumerset’s excellent mail in this morning’s mailbox
made a couple of key points about the midfield that I think deserve further consideration – namely around the ‘balance’ of the side, and the ‘household names’ not being available.

Although this is apparently through Roy’s hand being forced by injury to others, I think we may have just stumbled upon the formula to build this team around over the next few years. 3 big, strong powerful lads, all 21 and under, all capable on the ball, strong in the tackle, and with dynamic and incisive running from Alli, dribbling and passing from Barkley and Dier as the positional glue to allow Alli and/or Barkley to get forward. They interchanged well, defended well, and dominated a near first-choice French midfield for the bulk of that match – imagine if they got a few games together!

The development side is key – you only have to look at Germany in recent years to watch how they discarded their under-achievers and put faith in a young, talented team to grow together, play together in friendlies, qualifiers and tournaments, to get to the level of success they see today. I’m not suggesting that this England team should be expected to deliver on that scale, but they may stand a better chance of doing so than their recent predecessors if they’re given a chance, and not discarded at the first sign of a Henderson/Wilshere midfield axis in a 4-4-2 *shudder*.
Blunders, CFC, London


Is this the non-c***iest England squad ever?
Older 365ers like me may remember the chronicles of the non-c&#$s 11 from 2006 (I think) with Jimmy Bullard as captain.  Reminiscing on this and watching the new generation of players in the England set-up it got me thinking that with Wayne Rooney now no longer assured of a start and Jack Wilshere permanently injured –  we may soon have the most non-c&#$*ish England team in more than twenty years.

Can anyone even begin to imagine Harry Kane screaming “I earn more in a day than you in a year” in the face of a Latvian defender ?  I’d wager Eric Dier doesn’t even have a Bentley, let alone park one in a disabled bay and as for the roasting,  I just feel sure that (unlike some of their big-name predecessors) John Stones and Chris Smalling would rather go home after a night out..

I always got the feeling that it was the arrogance and narcissistic sense of self-entitlement which led to the golden generation never really playing together as a unit, it was all about themselves and their personal glory.  I wonder if a bunch of lesser talented, more down to earth guys might have a huge advantage here.

So if we can get Danny Wellbeck and Jordan Henderson fit again and learn to forget about Jamie Vardy’s casino indiscretion, then by the time the Euros come round we could have the nicest, politest, most-unassuming,  clean-cut, hard-working  young men representing the national team that I can ever remember. And even if they aren’t as talented as some of their predecessors and they still crash out after a few dull performances I for one will still feel better about them, my country and myself.
Nick, Harlow  (I am aware that Raheem Sterling does’t really fit into this narrative).


Consistenly inconsistent
After reading the mailbox this morning, I count help but to ask myself which of these three groups are the most inconstant when it comes to the English national team?

1. English fans? Who a few days (in the mailbox) ago were talking about how bad the team has been and how they have no hope for the euros. Who didn’t agree with a mailboxer (hope that is right) that said he has chosen to be optimistic about the euros. To then suddenly rave and drool about England and their chances at the euros after seeing them beat France (I am not saying France isn’t a good team).

2. English press?: don’t even let me get started on the inconsistency of this group (if I do, this would probably be the only thing that would be published in the evening mail box because of its length)

3. English players?: who show glimpses of brilliance for their individual club sides and in the qualifying stages of most competitions to then go ahead to seem to have no clue when they get to the main tournament.

Other inconsistent groups include: English pundits, jobless managers (turn pundits), in some cases English weather.

If there were to be an award competition to choose which is most inconsistent in all the above listed groups, it’s going to be very very tough to decide.
RUPHSYNE (I am not going to include my country, so this doesn’t turn into another world war. I was just simply making a point).


Dream/nightmare scenarios
So the pots for the draw are now confirmed. Time to look for who to avoid and dream draws.


Dream: Ukraine, Hungary, Albania

Nightmare: Italy, Sweden, Iceland

Those Scandinavian sides are just more outdoorsy. Honourable mention to Poland in pot 3 as a nightmare draw.


Wales, Northern Ireland and Republic of Ireland

Dream: England*, Croatia, Hungary

Nightmare: Germany, Italy, Poland

*England isn’t really a dream draw in the cold light of day but all the minnows fancy themselves as better than England. Would much rather draw Belgium or Portugal.


Group of Death: Germany, Italy, Poland, Wales.

Two very good sides and two sides with a couple of truly world class players.


Are we sure this isn’t a qualifying group?:  Belgium, Ukraine, Hungary, Albania


Group winners from A, B, C and D will all play a third place finisher in the first knock out round. Maybe that would give England a chance of winning a knock out tie in the Euros.
Colin, (England’s dream draw will quickly become a nightmare after a 0-0 draw with Albania)


A best of the rest squad
I like Zlatan. He is entertaining, infuriating at times, but entertaining. He has the talent to match his ego. I am glad he will be at the Euros. I know this idea has been floated before but is there anything to be said for including a ‘Best of the rest’ team at International tournaments?

Some great players have never made it to the big stages because they were the national exception of their time. Giggs (questionable attitude to Wales games aside) and Weah are two classic examples. Liberia were never going to make it to a World cup. You have to feel for these players. The pressure to get their country there single handed must be enormous.

Of course, the fear is that it would become a squad of players from teams that botched their qualifying chances (looking at you Netherlands) Do Robben et al deserve a second chance to be there? Probably not. And then if you give a space to the World/Euro XI you could be depriving a second/third tier team of an achievable place in a finals. Hmmmm, cons are vastly outweighing the pros here. Even if you had the right intention, it would be ballsed up by governing bodies and the ‘needs’ of sponsors.
Kev (what was the question?)


More on Rooney
In response to Quackeththeduck, the phrase ‘one swallow does not make a summer’ springs to mind. Just so that people shouldn’t jump on Rooney’s back after one bad performance, equally they shouldn’t claim ‘he’s back!’ after one decent one. Rooney has been incrementally improving (very slowly) for United since around mid-October, but he’s still only gone from a 3/10 to a 5/10 and is still keeping 7/10 players (such as Herrera) out of the side. His first touch is still usually poor, and his finishing is consistently inconsistent. Credit where its due: he’s been improving a bit since his utterly diabolical first two months of the season. But that doesn’t mean he’s back to his best or even an acceptable level, especially on the back of a friendly match against incredibly subdued opposition whose countrymen (and, in Diarra’s case, his cousin) have just gone through a national tragedy.

Lets revisit this in February if he’s been playing consistently well for 3 months.
Rustin Cohle


Conclusion: Transfers are hard
I enjoyed Matt Stead’s list of forgotten summer purchases, but five was far from enough.

Just at West Ham, you could add Michael Antonio, Victor Ogbonna and Pedro Obiang, who’ve hardly made an impact and cost almost £20 million.

Chelsea dropped nearly £7 million on Papy Djilobodji and Michael Hector, defenders who you would guess are unlikely to ever feature regularly.

Newcastle spent £12 million on Florian Thauvin, who appears worse than the person shipped back in the same deal on loan, Remy Cabella.

Crystal Palace forked out £9 million or so on Connor Wickham, who rarely performed at Sunderland. But at least they got back £5 million from Bournemouth for Glen Murray, who is 32 and missed most of the season before last with a cruciate ligament injury.

My own club, Spurs, dropped £8.3 million on Clinton N’Jie, who is 22 and had played barely 1,000 minutes of first-team football in his entire career. He is rawer than Steak Tartare. Erik Lamela spent two years being an almost total bust, bar the odd rabona. Spurs were prepared to ship him out on loan on deadline day, only for Pochettino to pull the plug as he didn’t think Levy would manage to buy a striker in time (which he predictably didn’t). Since then, he has transformed from show pony to war horse, and is one of the most important players on the team after Harry Kane.

I think what I’m trying to say, is that transfers are really, really hard, and if you can get more right than you get wrong, you are doing well as a club.
Charlie, THFC, Somerset


They call him DJ
Darren Raekwon MacIntosh-Buffonge …

Straight from the name generator in the latest expansion pack, Wu Tang Presents:  36 Chambers of Football Manager.
Ian, LFC (hopes someone has the sense to nickname him ‘the Chef’) Medellin


Fo’ sheezy my neezy
Congrats to gossip today for the Izzo rap…

I’m still laughing and pretty sure I’ve earned you a few followers by forwarding to my colleagues!!

Keep it up!!
T, CFC, London!!


Brace yourselves. Neville is coming
Ladder, ladder where’s the ladder? I need my Phil Neville giggle.
Rob, Guangzhou

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