Oh to be an England fan eh? Booing your players off the park at half time, getting your face painted before pointless friendlies, forking out a tenner for a programme, watching a bunch over over-paid under-motivated players running about, winning nothing. All it all, it has to be said it’s not the life I aspire to.
However, as bad as truly caring the English national team must be, it’s safe to say the life of the England manager will always be harder. Just look at Steve McClaren. The pressure of the job pushed him so far he thinks he’s bloody Dutch now!
Following a crap game against the Czech Republic where England scraped an undeserved draw in the dying moments, Fabio Capello now has the task of getting them to qualify for the World Cup. Considering this same group of players crashed out of the Euro qualifiers, he has to know he’s got his work cut out.
Just as he has, like all England managers learn, in getting Manchester United players to get on the pitch. Sir Alex Ferguson will use any excuse he can to keep his players away from Internationals to ensure they are fully fit to represent their club.
Capello’s first battle has begun. Starting with Owen Hargreaves.
Several papers are running stories this morning regarding Steven Gerrard, who has opted for groin surgery which will keep him out of the opening games against Andorra and Croatia away, as well as Hargreaves being ruled out of contention by Fergie.
Hargreaves, who will be watched by Capello, along with fellow English team mates Rio Ferdinand, Wes Brown and Gary Neville, is featuring in tonight’s UEFA Super Cup match, but won’t be available for England, our manager says.
“I think it is impossible for him to play for England,” he said. “This will be his first start and he certainly won’t be on for more than an hour. After that, he will need a recovery period, so I think it is very, very unlikely that Fabio would risk him.”
Following the shambles of a midfield that lined up against the Czech Republic, Capello would have been eager to change things around. However, it seems as though he will not be given the option. Michael Carrick didn’t travel to Monaco so certainly won’t be risked by Ferguson in the England games.
Of course, Capello doesn’t need Fergie’s permission, he can select the players he likes if he deems them fit, and I would certainly enjoy seeing him try! But I think my money is going to be on Hargreaves resting after tonight until our trip to Anfield.