Mails: Please take Klinsmann off our hands

Matt Stead

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Should have listened to Liverpool fans
As the dust settles on the result, the overriding feeling for me is “how on earth did Hodgson get the job in the first place?” He is an incredibly limited manager, yet here he is with no major honours won in 40 years of management, leading his country and earning more than some World Cup winning managers. Its baffling, but I believe English fans only have themselves to blame.

When Hodgson was in charge of Liverpool, it quickly became apparent to the fans that he was woefully out of his depth. He was a disaster, both on and off the pitch. But England has a funny old relationship with Liverpool and its fans, and so rather than agree with those annoying Scousers about Hodgsons reign, the majority decided to do what they always do, and blame the club and its fans instead. “Hes a nice guy”, “the fans are awful”, “they expect too much”, “he was never given a chance” etc.

Now, lets just stop for a minute and consider what the reaction would be if the FA decide that they’re going to appoint David Moyes as Hodgson’s successor after his stint at United. Or perhaps if Steve McClaren was given another go after how he performed at Newcastle. Sounds ridiculous doesn’t it? But that’s exactly what happened with Hodgson (give or take a small stint at West Brom in between). However, when you look at it, who can really blame the FA? They just went with the nation, the idea that Hodgson was actually a good manager and that his Liverpool reign was a blip. That it was the Liverpool fans’ fault. They would have looked at the general feeling being expressed throughout the country and on social media and thought “yes, pretty much everyone likes Roy apart from those pesky Scousers, lets hire him”.

If rival fans had actually put aside their idiotic tribal nonsense and simply accepted that Hodgson wasn’t very good and Liverpool fans had a point, he would never have got the England job. Its that simple. Liverpool fans have a bit of a stupid saying of “We’re not English, we are Scouse”, but the whole Hodgson debacle is part of the reason why that attitude has come about. If Hodgson had been at any other “big” club and performed how he did at Liverpool, the feeling about his credentials would have been unanimous. See: David Moyes at United. So, English fans truly only have themselves to blame. In fact, even up until this past week or so a lot were still pushing the idea (not least on this sites very own forum), that he was a good manager and that it was only Liverpool fans who disagreed.

The final thing I want to highlight is the line that gets trotted out about what a “nice guy” Hodgson is. He really, really isnt. He is incredibly arrogant and an awful man-manager. His time at Liverpool was punctuated with references to his “35 years in management” and how “respected” he was throughout Europe. How his “methods” should be beyond reproach. Literally nothing was his fault. The same is true of his England career, such as his “refusal to accept” that the team weren’t playing well and that any criticism was unfounded. Now we have him today repeating that he “doesn’t know” why he should have to face the media, but he “supposes someone has to face” the criticism. Yes Roy, you! You were the manager who oversaw it all. Then he follows it up by saying the team “didnt play well last night because sometimes that happens”. The lack of accountability is utterly astounding.

From a man-management point of view, he is also dire. At Liverpool he made reference to the reserves as “also-rans”, just like he compared the likes of Danny Drinkwater to “this seasons Grant Holt”. Imagine being one of those players and having the manager refer to you like that. He openly and publically criticised players at Liverpool, much as he made an example of Adam Lallana (one of Englands better players at this tournament) by dropping him for a must-win game. He signed Paul Konchesky simply because he liked him personally, just like he had already decided that as long as Jack Wilshire was not injured on the day the team flew out to France he would be in the squad regardless of form or fitness. I dont even think we need to highlight Hodgsons lack of tactical acumen, its self-evident.

So in conclusion, we can look at a lifetime spent in football, 40 years of management, a career thats spanned Europe, thousands of players encountered, numerous languages learned and spoken, the supposed triumph of finally landing his “dream” job leading his country……and all he will be remembered for is being the man who lead England to the worst ever result in their history. Ah well, these things happen.
Smith, Manchester


An outsider’s perspective
Bearing in mind I’m an Irishman and admittedly, found Monday night hilarious I am not writing in purely to stick the boot in as such. Thought id try and give an outside perspective as to why it appears England are such a shambles. (I am fully aware of how terrible Ireland are as well but let’s be honest the expectations are far lower).

1 . Delusion: In the 50 years since 1966, England have won a combined total of 6 matches at the knockout phase of either the European championships or the World Cup (Paraguay ’86, Belgium/Cameroon ’90, Spain ’96, Denmark 2002, Ecuador 2006) yet every tournament talk about themselves as being one of the big guns and this maybe being their year. I don’t think any other nation looks at England’s football team with the same level of awe as they do themselves. Other sides are coming to tournaments knowing they are a weaker side with limitations and therefore adapt their style of play and concentrate on being solid, hard to break down and getting the fundamentals right. England’s misplaced self-confidence has them trying to outplay sides that are simply too good for them.

2. Mental Weakness: Take a look at the players that were on the pitch Monday night. No one took the game to Iceland. Not one player seemed to be getting on to his teammates demanding more effort, more aggression or demanding the ball. No one was willing to take players on and make something happen. The longer the game went on the more players began to hide. It was the same with the group games. Reports were that England dominated the group games but couldn’t put away their chances. England didn’t dominate anything. Having all the possession against teams that have set themselves up to allow you have possession isn’t anything to be proud of. A less talented Wales side scored Six goals in the same group because they were more clinical.

3. Technical Ability: Two years ago England went to the world cup with the spine of one of the most exciting Liverpool teams in years. What was missing ?? Luis Suarez. The real talent of that Liverpool side and it showed in England’s performances. The England squad is made up of players from the big clubs in the premier league but on the most part their club teams rely on their foreign stars. When its 0-0 and a goal is needed, Arsenal turn to Ozil and Sanchez, City turn to Aguero and Silva, Liverpool to Coutinho and Firminho, United to Martial and Mata, Chelsea to Hazard and Costa. The premier league is competitive but the English players there are just the filler that make up the rest of the team. Great players make their team mates look good and this is painfully clear in England.

Much like Ireland I have no idea what England can do to turn this around because the coaching systems in both countries appear to covet the big and strapping over the clever and the creative. I do however think that Sam Allardyce, Alan Pardew, Harry Redknapp and similar chancers that are somehow, again getting bandied about as possible replacements are not about to change the countries footballing culture and create a footballing legacy any time soon. Probably time to go foreign again. How ironic.
David (Let’s not forget how great Iceland were) Dublin


Feeling sorry for Wilshere
I feel really sorry for Wilshere. It wasn’t his fault he was picked to go and I hope he’s not used as a constant reference for our inevitable failure as he’s one of our more gifted footballers and ultimately a young lad that said yes when his country called.

As others have said he was match-fit but not match-sharp and if you’re going to take him to a tournament you need to get him match sharp. How do clubs get their expensive players match sharp? Giving them time to play in friendlies with less pressure. Now obviously that wasn’t an option but if Wilshere was that vital a cog he should have been playing games – perhaps he might have been a passenger for one or two but that might have gotten him sharper and ready for when we needed to call on him.

This leads to my second point. Wenger has said it before. He isn’t a deep-lying midfielder. He isn’t a Pirlo. He’s a player whose forte is moving with the ball and playing little one-twos with team-mates to move the play and stretch the opposition. Bringing him on to change a game isn’t a bad idea but I have no idea how he was expected to do that playing just infront of the back four until the last 10 minutes…

Instead we played Rooney and Ali. The first of those out of position and I know there’s been divided opinion on this but he’s an awful midfielder (and a fading striker) and the second of those was sadly horribly out of form.

I’m not saying Wilshere was great or it would have been different and more just highlighting how badly the team was mis-managed. Hopefully our next manager will play players in their actual positions. We had strikers on the wings, strikers in midfield, attacking midfielders in defensive midfield and seemingly the only player able to shrug off the pressure that was crippling his team mates was kept on the bench until the 84th minute. Rashford should have started when the other strikers all failed horribly in their auditions. Our exit is only surprising in that anybody is surprised at all that badly managing players and playing them out of position (and form) doesn’t work!


Please, please take Klinsmann
As an American who cares a lot more about the future success of the USMNT than of the Three Lions, I’d like to echo Tim, the Netherlands and also say Klinsy for the job!

Remember all those great times you had with him at Spurs? Just stick with that feeling! Definitely don’t look into what anybody says about his time with Bayern, or quotes from German team players about his performance as manager, or read anything about Horst Hrubesch (the man who actually reformed the German youth system), or look at the US performance against top teams in competitive matches.

Definitely don’t check whether he’s been able to do the one thing England need most: implement a clear, concise tactical identity that makes the team play better than its individual talents.

Excited? Me too!
Derby NYBlues


Time to call on Claudio…
I would seriously consider Ranieri. I have said for years that England need to embrace what we’re decent at and that is direct, counter attacking football.

Watching the Euros our players as a collective probably have the worst first touch of any team in the tournament. When we do have possession its embarrassing, we create nothing meaningful because we have no movement off the ball. Possession based, creative football is the last style in the world we should employ based on the skill set of our players.

What we do have are decent players with pace, power and strength. It seems obvious to me that you go direct.

And best of all, our tactically limited players may actually understand what they are doing playing direct football in a Ranieri 442.


…Or Sean Dyche…
Stead’s piece yesterday on the potential English managers was completely on the button. Agreed with almost every word. I did think though that one manager was overlooked and has been by almost everyone – Sean Dyche. I haven’t researched this much so forgive me if he has ruled himself out in the past but he is clearly one of the best candidates for the job. Here are some reasons.

1. He is young and so the players can relate but not so young as Eddie Howe.
2. He makes players more than the sum of their parts and gives them organisation. No matter what the quality or not of this England team they are performing well below their level. Dyche’s emphasis on playing as a team will hopefully lead to less bias for playing players from the top clubs and looking at what a player can do to make the team better no matter what their reputation. I hope this also leads to modest, determined and smart players getting more of a run out with personality a major factor in selections. Jack Butland springs to mind.
3. Dyche is intelligent, savvy and not a PFM (hate that phrase but it is actually useful here). We need someone who is not going to go on about English values and instead realises that England have a good set of players and we need to play to their strengths rather than try to make them tiki taka lite.
4. Look at him. He is not going to pamper the players. He is going to shout at the players. I like that.
5. I hate to give Wales creditbut I also hope he would instil an underdog mentality into the players – make then realise they are not Messi reborn. Wales players, despite showing a distateful attitude towards the english, believe they are underdogs, making their country proud and they want to enjoy the moment. Those England players who think they are all that shouldn’t get picked.
6. He has won stuff. Yes not the premiership. Or the champions league. But nobody would have at Burnley. Even Pep.

Hate to say it and I sensed there was a begrudging acknowledgement in Stead’s piece that he might not be bad, but the next best English candidate is Sam Allardyce. He is organised, would not treat the players as kings and does not pick on reputation (note when he started at Sunderland ge dropped Defoe who had not been performing).

However ahead of Allardyce I would easily take Blanc or Klinsmann who are all available. I really wish people would stop going on about Bilic too. Yes it would be great. Clearly never going to happen though.


…Or, erm… Tony Popovic
After waking up at 4:30 to drive to Sydney’s casino to watch Engerland’s latest fail, I got talking to a few of my Dennis the Menace Western Sydney mates. (their home shirt looks like Dennis the menace…)

On the back of England’s transformation from a bag of w**k in the Rugby, why not try it in the roundball game. And a man who did it for the red half of Sydney, is a man who knows English football very well – of Crystal Palace fame – Tony Popovic.
He took the westies to a (Asian) Champions League final and won it, and has been bossing the A league since the Westies inception 5 years ago (much to my blue side annoyance). I know, the A league took people like Terry McFlynn from Margate (I think was eighth tier English football at the time), and Dwight Yorke went back to Sunderland after winning the A league with Sydney, but it surely can’t be as bad as what was served up yesterday can it?!

I can’t bring myself to say Shearer would be any good and Harry had his chance when he was at Spurs. Aussies know a thing or two when it comes to managing egos and will take no nonsense from our depressingly pampered England team.
Adrian (Brummie in Sydney)


England don’t need leaders, but guiders
The biggest problem with England, which has been very briefly touched upon by a few, is that there is no-one there that knows how to run a game. Italy have De Rossi, Spain have Iniesta/Fabregas, Germany have Kroos/Ozil. These are all players that know how to control a game, know when to speed things up or slow things down in possession, know when to press and when to sit back.

On paper, the England team is pretty good. That’s because on paper, they are judged mostly by their club form. At that level, City have Silva/Toure pulling the strings, Chelsea have Fabregas, Arsenal have Ozil, Spurs have Eriksen/Dembele, Leicester have Kante or potentially Drinkwater. All the English players at those clubs are basically doing what they are told, following the lead of a more situationally aware foreigner. They have absolutely no football intelligence of their own. The obvious exceptions here are Man Utd and Liverpool. Man U struggle massively when they rely on Rooney (sound familiar?) but look far better with Carrick running things, or when Herrera plays well in the middle.

Liverpool’s pacing is slightly different, as they pretty much operate solely on overdrive, particularly without that ball. However I still think Henderson has some value in controlling a game. Say what you will about him, he seems to be a decent leader and while he has never had a ‘great’ game for England, we were undoubtedly a better side during qualifying when he was consistently starting. Some of that is down to the level of opposition and it may well have very little to do with Henderson, but I still feel he deserved more of a chance in France than he was given.

Other issues:
– Only Sturridge and Rashford were actually willing to run at anyone. The best indicator of Wilshere’s lack of fitness is that he wasn’t prepared to take anyone on.
– Kyle Walker is Kyle Walker in defence, as well as attack.
– Vardy is generally more interested in winning a penalty than getting a shot off. Particularly pointless given that it now no longer results in a red card.
– Eric Dier needs a guy who runs around a lot next to him in midfield. Not Wayne Rooney.
– Rooney is not a central midfielder.
– Basic control, passing, shooting, defensive marking and particularly BLOODY CROSSING! It’s not Roy Hodgson’s job (well, particularly not now) to teach players the fundamentals. You’re a professional footballer, you should know that stuff already.
– Joe Hart
Ross, AFC London


Why don’t the Football Association create their own team?
There seems to be broad agreement on the general nature of the England team’s problems: lack of organisation and an inability to pull together under pressure. Most people seem to agree that individual quality is only a minor factor.

As Monday night clearly demonstrated, bang-average-but-well-organised beats individually-talented-but-lacking-cohesion every time. The surest path to future improvement is therefore to give the team more time for training and planning, and more opportunities to play meaningful games against quality opposition. In other words, they need to be playing together week in, week out. So here’s a thought – why doesn’t the FA establish a team to play in the Football League/Premier League?

The team would have a policy of only buying English and would look to attract promising talent from existing youth programmes. The FA couldn’t afford to pay the wages to compete with top PL teams but it would be able to offer a sweetener: namely, that this league team would also be the default national team. If there are injury problems, or an English player at another club has a stormer of a season, then the FA would still be able to call up other players.

But other than that, this new league club – England FC, Albion Athletic, whatever you want to call it – will be the team that we send out to international competitions. That in itself should be enough to attract properly-motivated youngsters who would otherwise have signed to a Big Club only to languish on loan in League Two. The message will be that, if you’re a young English player and you dream of playing at a World Cup, this is the team to join.

The main practical obstacle would be getting the leagues to make space for another team, which would probably mean an extra FL team dropping into non-league – or alternatively, an extra non-league team being promoted to even up the numbers. It could even be a money-spinner. The FA already has a turnover and profit margin comparable to those of a lower-end-EPL/top-end-Championship club so it could easily cover the start-up costs.

If it used Wembley for home games it’d make a decent wedge in gate receipts, plus extra income from merchandising, a share of TV rights, shirt sponsorship, etc. In fact, the FA would open up a whole new market segment (or whatever they call it): people who follow the national team but who have no interest in league football.

Ridiculous idea? Perhaps. But surely no more ridiculous than pegging the nation’s hopes on Gareth Southgate. Again.
Tim, Cambridge


We need to change the model
I’m sure everyone is still reeling from England’s exit from Europe (I’ll leave you to decide which one) but I feel we have to admit an inconvenient truth. And that is, we’re not very good at football. A country that has won 6 knock out games since 1966, can’t call itself a great footballing nation. One swallow does not make a summer, and one World Cup shouldn’t make us think that we are in the elite. We haven’t been in the elite for a long time. As F365 themselves pointed out, we have fewer coaches with qualifications. And we don’t know the complete breakdown of who they are. Maybe it is because they are ‘Proper Football Men’ who still believe that pace and power and ‘pashun’ is the way forward, and it’s the England way.

You look at a lot of the smaller countries, and they focus on the few aspects which, if your players are limited, will give you a chance. Those being sound technique, technical understanding of the game and organisation. Watching the England vs Iceland match, there was actually only one team on that pitch. That was Iceland. England were an expensively assembled , over hyped group of lads who didn’t know what their jobs were. They were static, never played for one another and lacked some basic skills. I know Walcott gets a lot of stick for his lack of football intelligence, but that could be applied to that entire squad out there. No game management, no tactical awareness of where each other was. It was painful to watch but nothing will change. Even if they got in Mourinho, he could try and get them playing a system, but I doubt in the short amount of time he’d be able to turn that pigs ear into a silk purse.

And you can bang on about the golden generation, and how they should have done better. But in my opinion they were just the pinnacle of the ‘pace, power, passion’ players. With some technique. Many of them were made to look far better than they were thanks to the foreign players around them. I am not saying they were rubbish, but even they weren’t great for England. Because great teams win things. When we hear ex-players talk about the ‘great’ England teams….there has really only been one. And that was 1966. The rest, also rans. When you think of the old sides in international football…no one goes, oh, 1982 was a great side (round 2 exit) or 86 (QF) .

Until this country rips up its model, and tries something different, we’ll be stuck with the same explosive footballers who can do the odd bit of magic, but doesn’t know what to do with a defender waltzing through the box. Until blood, pace and thunder is dropped as a positive attribute, and we prioritise the fundamentals, we will singularly fail to progress.
John (insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result) Matrix AFC


On insularity
I was reading your 16 conclusions for blame which I think is spot on on most, if not all, points. However your point on “insularity” I think is right, the UK need more players playing abroad to learn new methods of playing. England’s latest rising star Dier played his youth game Sporting Clube in Portugal. I think this was key to his development as a player.

This is not due to foreign clubs not wanting English players, it is the issue where the FA (I think its the FA) demand that English clubs have X amount of homegrown players. This pushes the price up of top British players because all clubs in the UK will want to either buy them or keep them. One of the reasons why Sterling is the most expensive British player and Bale is he most expensive player, they are great players yes (well the latter is….Sterling has kind of fallen to pieces) but other great players will never play abroad because they cost too much.
Stoky Boy