Colin Tattum: England need a new philosophy not just new faces
It’s a familiar cry once England have gone out of the World Cup and the inquests begin.
Bring in fresh, young talent. The next generation. The next big things.
After all, those blessed Germans did just that and have transformed themselves, promoting without hesitation members of their UEFA under-21 Championship winners like Mesut Ozil and Thomas Muller.
Germany play with speed, vitality and verve now. They’re not that efficient Teutonic machine of memory.
In truth, their change has not so much happened overnight. The first seeds were sown after their hopeless Euro 2000 campaign, in coaching, player identification – in particular integrating those with varied ethnic backgrounds – and also a commitment to youth in the Bundesliga.
For England, so embarrassed technically, athletically and tactically by Germany in the knockout stage of the World Cup finals, getting the various groups to agree on any similar common plan for action is highly unlikely.
The Premier League is the great protector (of itself) and when the FA should have been driving ahead with the centre of excellence at Burton-on-Trent they were trying to stop the drain on resources of the ridiculously expensive new Wembley.
Just two examples of why we won’t be able to get it together.
So, if we can’t have a clear blueprint for betterment in the medium to long-term, a winter break, country coming before club, we can still have swingeing squad revolution.
For the next England game, a friendly against Hungary in August, some players will doubtless be jettisoned from the side, some newer talents will be blooded.
Adam Johnson and Theo Walcott need encouragement and trust. Joe Hart should be told he is England’s first choice goalkeeper, Jack Rodwell fast-tracked into the squad gatherings and other tyros involved.
Locally, Capello should now offer an opportunity to Ashley Young and Gabriel Agbonlahor to make a mark, after being so much on the fringes.
Then it would be up to them. They have ability and speed. Can they add consistency and drive to make their cases clear cut?
Why not take a look at Blues' central defenders Scott Dann and Roger Johnson? And would Cameron Jerome have done any worse as, say, an impact player coming off the bench in South Africa?
But certainly Capello should not make change for change’s sake. And no-one is quite sure whether this next generation are going to be good enough to step in and fill gaps that will be left in places.
England’s Under-17s – recent winners of the European Championship at that level – are thought to be a very good crop. But from that age group to the seniors, there are not many stand out talents. That’s the theory.
There is only one way to really find out.
Capello isn’t a bold adventurer but, as the FA are keeping him in place, you hope he has learned lessons too.
The boot camp mentality works at club level, but it was clearly flawed internationally when players are cooped up for so long preparing for and during a major tournament. He needed to make it a bit Butlins as well, let the players embrace the World Cup and the sights and sounds of South Africa. Not shut them away.
England seemed to be the most joyless and soulless nation there, putting aside the mutinous arrogance of France.
No player appeared to be excited or enthused by performing on the greatest and biggest stage of all.
It was as if they were dragged down by fear, the pressure. Internal division, mistrust and Capello’s ideology – plus his mistakes in selection – thrown into the mix also made for an awful showing.