Lacklustre performances only highlight England’s dried up talent pool

Much criticism was directed towards Roy Hodgson following an unquestionably poor display against Ireland last Tuesday night, yet in truth this was just another glaring example of how empty the stocks currently are in regards to picking an England squad.

The manager was lambasted for his tactics with many flying around accusations of him taking the nation backwards, yet even a brief analysis of the squad highlights that England now simply do not posses a side that can possibly live up to what were already over the top expectations from both the media and supporters. Going forward it is hard to recall an England manager having to choose from such slim pickings, with the likes of Jermain Defoe, Andy Carroll, Danny Welbeck and Daniel Sturridge hardly setting the world alight in recent years and none have been near the Premier League’s top strikers in recent years. 

The alarming recent form of Wayne Rooney only adds to the problems, given that on his day he is one of a very few world class players Hodgson can call on. You have to turn the clocks back an awful long way to find an England side so lacking in match winners and the fact that Frank Lampard and Steven Gerrard continue to carry England despite hitting the twilight of their years points out that the future does not exactly look better. Jack Wilshere has been identified as the great generation saving hope yet that is a huge pressure on a man who has played so little football in recent years due to injury. Even defensively where in recent years England have had to rely to get results things now look distinctly average, with the likes of Gary Cahill and Phil Jagielka some way off the talents of Ferdinand and Terry.

There will be those who call for a change of personnel but unfortunately these current players are as good as England have, you only need to look at the types of players who have been called up a a result of injuries for evidence of that, for example Jack Rodwell this time round despite spending the majority of the season injured and showing little form.

Comparisons around Europe put into perspective the current problems, with so many teams who you might put a step behind the usual super powers now possessing squads as strong and in some cases stronger than England. Further to that there is an entire raft of nations who can call on more match winners than England can, that is not to say they are better than England it is just highlighting the lack of world class players England have. Finally comparisons against the likes of Spain, Germany, Italy and even Holland and France truly highlight where England are given only a small handful of English players would make these nations squads let alone starting XI’s.

This should not mean criticism of Hodgson should not be given for as we know in international football so many teams are more than the sum of their parts. Yet it is time for people to realise that England are now very much in the second tier of European footballing nations and with that in mind just reaching the World Cup should be considered a strong achievement.