Football Friends Online – When 90 Mins Is Not EnoughEnglish football still searching for Silva lining - Football Friends Online - When 90 Mins Is Not Enough English football still searching for Silva lining - Football Friends Online - When 90 Mins Is Not Enough

English football still searching for Silva lining

“Jack Wilshere is incredible because he is so young. We also need the experience of John Terry, Rio Ferdinand and Scott Parker. “You need this kind of player, plus Rooney, I hope.”: Fabio Capello-October 20th 2011.

So it looks like he’s taking him then. Despite the three match ban that could see the talismanic striker banned for England’s entire stay in the Ukraine and Poland, it does seem that Fabio Capello is planning to lean towards the side of desperation in handing one of the 23 squad places to Wayne Rooney, his main striker who is no stranger to the red mist once the frustration descends upon the biggest stage. Many people may be quick to name alternatives in the likes of Daniel Sturridge and Gabriel Agbonlahor, but the sad fact is, in a true footballing sense, England do not possess a direct replacement for Rooney’s vision, drive and creativity as a second striker. Nobody other player of English eligibility shares the quality of Rooney to summon up a moment of technical ingenuity in that position and it is why Capello feels the need to persist through all the frustrations of a night in Montenegro, where his striker feels the need to stupidly get sent off and hinder his team so significantly for the trip to Eastern Europe next summer. Quite definitely, Fabio Capello needs this type of player in his squad, regardless of his availability to play even a single match.

If Capello was watching events unfold at Old Trafford on Sunday, he would have the seen the scantiness of his options in that position laid so convincingly thin, as not only was Rooney anonymous for the majority of the game, kept quiet by the immense Vincent Kompany, but the fact he was not able to even threaten to influence a game which was dominated for the most part by the power and guile of Manchester City embodied in the effervescence of Rooney’s direct opposite; David Silva is the best creative attacking player in the Premier League. There will inevitably be a few dissenting voices to that statement but it is becoming increasingly commonplace within opinion of the neutral with every glittering performance the Spanish midfielder produces. Missing just eight of his attempted 71 passes Vs Manchester United, he was the portrayal of sensational industry and intelligence that guided City to their seismic victory. Whether it be the graceful turn of Anderson to tee up James Milner to deliver the cross to supply Mario Balotelli’s second, or the sumptuous volleyed pass to set up Edin Dzeko to wrap up proceedings with a sixth goal, it was an undeniable display of the highest quality throughout.

It is Silva’s unerring ability to adapt to any kind of attacking role that concerns opposition more than anything, usually deployed on the flanks for Manchester City, he was on the left at Old        Trafford, with clear permission to drift in field to influence centrally as a result of City’s fully fluid forward line, his versatility just adds to his aura as an unstoppable creative force regardless of system or designated role. Playing in the 3-1 defeat of Scotland for Spain in a recent Euro 2012 qualifier, he scored twice and set-up David Villa for a third from his midfield outpost playing in a central two alongside Andres Iniesta.

England have nobody on the same technical plateau as Silva who can inflict his devastating  magic on a game in the same way the Spaniard can, apart from Rooney who is so often encouraged to play further up the field causing his creative talent between the lines to become more sporadic than the norm that is exhumed from Silva. The game in Podgorica being a case in point, starved of possession throughout, he was shifted to a lone forward role late on in the game and it is through that isolation when the frustration strikes, manifested in a moment of apparent lunacy. There is no doubting the best from Wayne Rooney comes when the shackles are off and he is more involved from a deeper area, his divine hat-trick against Arsenal and some of his performances towards the end of last year are clear examples, yet unlike Silva he is not encouraged to do this nowhere near as often as he should, especially with England.

England do not regularly create the type of player of the same technical calibre of David Silva and when they do, they fail to embrace them sufficiently. Joe Cole was once described as the “most technically gifted player of his generation” and can occupy the trequartista role as well as Rooney when on form, but yet finds himself shunned out to France in an attempt to recover his reputation that had diminished with the spell at Liverpool. Paul Scholes had the admiration of many in the game for his magnificence on the ball, but had to make do with an unfamiliar spot on the left hand side of Sven Goran Eriksson’s England team in order to fashion enough room for Steven Gerrard and Frank Lampard, causing a premature end to his England career which may have been so different had he been cherished as much on the international stage as his talent dictated.

Arsenal have composed an exciting prospect with Jack Wilshere, perhaps the nearest player to the Spanish trailblazers, although it remains to be seen how his career pans out as he matures in the Premier League, currently out for six months with an ankle injury. Alex Oxlade Chamberlain is also waiting in the wings, although his time is not quite upon us, despite Capello’s optimistic prophecy of a call-up to a friendly in the immediate future. Unfortunately, it is hard to name any more truly technically gifted players in the England set-up that come so naturally to Spain; James Milner relies on bare industry and stamina to conjure the type of awesome performance he produced on Sunday, sharing with his colleague Gareth Barry the same type of ineptitude that follows him onto England duty. Steven Gerrard is a high octane ball of inspirational energy while Frank Lampard is a huge asset in terms of goal threat, but neither can be relied upon to unlock defences with the type of irrepressible passing that Silva produced a master class in against Manchester United.

There is no player in possession of an English nationality quite like David Silva and this was only highlighted in the Manchester derby, his shining display would be unlikely to be replicated by Jack Rodwell or Jordan Henderson who are part of the new batch of youngster coming through the England set-up, and when compared to Spain’s back catalogue of these players, it is blatantly obvious to see how threadbare the cupboard is; there are Barcelona’s passing masters of Andres Iniesta, Xavi and Sergio Busquets, backed up by Cesc Fabregas and the new blood of Thiago Alcantara, there is Chelsea’s Juan Mata who has impressed many with his start to Premier League life and Real Madrid’s Sergio Canales and Athletic Bilbao’s Javi Martinez. Perhaps the best testament to Spain’s constant conveyor belt of midfield geniuses is that Arsenal’s elegant Mikel Arteta has never seen fit to be handed an international cap.

The lack of technical ability in England produced players is often discussed in the aftermath of every failure on the international stage and the authorities are doing their best to rectify it with the controversial Elite Players Performance Plan which has recently been implemented to ensure talent is nurtured in the most resourceful academies from a young age, but the affect this will have on the future generations of home-grown players remain hypothetical. The best thing we can do for now, is be thankful that the Premier League is home for David Silva and to cherish his talent whilst it remains here, as we prepare to head into next summer with our own great hope prohibited from playing the first three matches. We have the blueprint under our very noses and from that; the endeavour must be to forge the next generation of David Silva’s.

Adam Gray @MonkeyLunch21

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