So was that Stuart Pearce’s one and only game as manager of England? Does he deserve another chance or his he just a bit too desperate for the job at the Euros despite all the protestations to the contrary?
To begin with he had the right idea. Follow the example set by Peter Taylor 12 years ago and jettison the old guard because all they guarding is past failure. Unfortunately he didn’t quite get this right and so we were left with some remnants of the “Golden Generation” which created it’s own problems.
The captaincy. Trouble was created that dozen years back when Taylor picked Beckham, it was the right choice at the time it was just later it became the millstone it did with star struck Svennis. This time around Pearce made all the right noises about who should take the armband but much like his predecessors who said only those fit and in form would be picked he went back on his word.
The captain has to be
unselfish. Well that’s one of the favourites of the old guard gone at the first hurdle. For all his media mates fanboys shouting Gerrard should be given the job you don’t get called Stevie Me for selfishness. Nothing cries selfishness more than the Hollywood balls. But that left him calling on Scott Parker. But he used the word leadership and no matter what those that have talked themselves into believing Parker is the second coming his leadership skills weren’t exactly on show on Sunday, or indeed against any of the so called
big sides Spurs have faced this season.
But oh miracles of miracles in the first half against the Dutch he actually blocked a couple of shots. Is this a first, certainly wouldn’t happen with Gerrard, an England player putting more effort in for country than his club (in their derby game). Ah the ones who talked him into their Player of the Year were pointing out his 97% passing stats. It’s become the new football currency. Except how many were forward or of any consequence?. I’m thinking that missing 3%.
It was in the second half we saw some classic Parker in action – first half can be pretty much overlooked as boring tap about highlighted by the Dutch manager van Marwijk looking bored stiff. Oh no I forgot the highlight was Gerrard going off and being replaced by someone who should have started, Sturridge.
So it kicked off in the second period as Robben collected the ball in his own half and just headed towards England’s goal. Straight up the middle as Parker ran alongside him doing nothing. It was somewhat reminiscent of England versus Germany in the last World Cup when Barry was, rightly, pilloried for such ineptness. Here, well, Scott free you could say.
Second goal there’s Huntelaar getting the freedom of the park as Parker is skipping around generally doing nothing and then failing to follow the striker into the box. Preferring instead to stand at the box edge doing nothing. Strange because he’s normally doing nothing next to the eventual scorer. He was there for the third running out of the box not clearing the ball then running back in to not block Robben’s shot.
It came as a great shock when he wasn’t named Man of the Match.
So the Dutch finally got into third gear in that second half and scored three pretty good goals. But shoddy work by England, not just Parker, pushing Robben onto his one foot – his left – for both his goals and letting the cross come over for Huntelaar’s.
In between the second and eventual winner England finally themselves showed some life. Cahill was fractionally offside but didn’t he take his goal well? Ashley Young took his goal very well as well, nice chip over the ‘keeper though I did particularly like Parker’s ball earlier in the move the way it went to absolutely nobody, was a surprise considering it was a pass backwards.
As for Pearce, he got the formation right. 4-2-3-1 is the way they need to at least start. He just didn’t get the personnel right. Funny how some of the correct choices he made he was slated for, the media do love those with a history of failure for England. He compounded the personnel errors – do you want to live in a world where Stuart Downing has 33 England caps? – by bizarre changes when bringing on the subs. Why on earth did he move Richards, a fullback, in from fullback to centre-back when he brought on Jones, who is a centre-back, to play fullback? Will Jones ever get a game for England at centre-back?
As a one off it was OK, lost in the last minute to a Dutch side that barely got going but getting the kids in was the right thing to do. And that’s one reason why ‘Arry isn’t the man for the job. The kids should be kept the rest of the old timers completely jettisoned and these Euros used to bring the youth up to speed. It’s not like it would harm our chances of winning it. Glorious or the more likely inglorious failure with the usual suspects gets us nowhere bedding in the next generation for the World Cup qualifiers and beyond has a purpose.
England 2 – 3 Holland