England v Spain- What is the point?

Just when you thought that The FA and Fabio “Clueless” Capello couldn’t get any worse, this whole England v Spain friendly debacle arises. Accordingly, I’ve developed a few questions that I think the England fans deserve answers to.

Question number one is for The FA- Why are England playing the World and European champions in a friendly in the first place? Sure, it’ll put bums on seats at Wembley, and a tiny fraction of the massive debt amassed from building it will be written off with people paying up to £65 for a ticket and £10 for a burger and a pint, but what are the national team going to gain from getting taught a lesson in how to play football by a team that are light years ahead of them in every aspect? This is a team that can afford to leave the likes of Juan Mata, David Silva, Cesc Fabregas, Pepe Reina, Jesus Navas and Fernando Torres on the bench. It’s all very well saying that it will be a “good test” but England simply are not capable of competing against sides like Spain at the moment, and with Terry, Ferdinand, Gerrard, Rooney and Wilshere not playing for various reasons, England will do well to keep the score down to 2 or 3-0. A morale boost for all in the England camp, I’m sure.

Question number two is for Fabio Capello- Why is Micah Richards not in the squad? He has been in sublime form for the team that is running away with the Premiership at the moment, and is far superior to Glen Johnson defensively and offensively. Capello’s excuse for not selecting Rio Ferdinand for the squad was that he has not played enough games this season, yet Johnson has played just three, and has been in woeful form. There’s a slight contradiction there, Mr Capello.

Another one for Capello- You’ve selected Darren Bent, Bobby Zamora, Danny Welbeck, Daniel Sturridge and Gabriel Agbonlahor as the strikers in this squad- if we take these players as our attackers to Euro 2012, where are the goals going to come from?  Why has Jermain Defoe been overlooked when he is arguably England’s only natural goal-scorer?

Bent has had so many chances to prove himself at international level, and has not once looked as if he is capable of playing at this standard. Zamora is 30 years old and is just being tested out in the England squad- for me, it is far too late in his career for him to make an impact on the side.

Welbeck and Sturridge have earned their call-ups with their decent club form, but if we find ourselves relying on two rookie strikers at Euro 2012, we are not going to go far. Agbonlahor is still a relatively unknown quantity at international level, and has been playing on the wing for Villa recently, so to suggest playing him as a centre-forward would be a bit silly.

Defoe may not be playing as frequently at Spurs as he used to (presumably the reason he is not in the squad) but the man gets goals, and that is a fact. Another player that is a proven goal-scorer at international level that has been left out is Peter Crouch. 22 goals in 42 games for England is an incredible achievement, yet he cannot get a look in. Why is that?

Another question for the FA- Why are you not going to stand up to FIFA and tell them that we are going to play with our poppies proudly on display against Spain regardless of what they say? It is a mark of respect for truly great servicemen that fought with courage and honour for our country. Just put the poppies on the shirts and pay the fine- if you have enough money to pay Fabio Capello £5 million per year, you have enough to pay a measly fine from FIFA. It is about someone stood up to the power-mad fat-cats that govern football, so why not just ignore them? What are they going to do, throw us out of the World Cup?

One last question for the FA- When England predictably get hammered by Spain on Saturday and go no further than the Quarter-finals of Euro 2012, who are you going to bring in to get this team playing at its full potential? If Harry Redknapp is the answer, you must have misheard the question. The last thing England needs is more controversy and more negative media coverage, and with Redknapp being accused of corruption, tax-evasion and various other misdemeanours throughout his managerial career, his appointment would no doubt lead to an even larger media circus hounding the national side.

Why is Stuart Pearce’s name not number one on the list? He’s been in charge of the England Under 21’s for almost 5 years, taking them to one final and one semi-final of the European Under 21’s Championships. He made 78 appearances for England, played in the side that reached the semi-finals of the 1990 World Cup in Italy and later captained his country. He was famed for being passionate, and having that win-at-all-costs mentality- exactly the traits needed to give this underachieving side the kick up the arse they so badly need.  If I had any say in the matter, I would be begging Pearce to take the job.

I’m not holding my breath on any of these questions being answered, but with interest in the England side waning due to their mass underachieving, negative brand of football and the antics of the players representing them, it is about time the FA came clean, owned up to their mistakes, and let the voice of the average fan be heard once more. It’s time we put an end to these decades of hurt- let us forget the past, re-group, and become a major force in international football once more.

James Crook

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