and give him a helping boot out the door on Wednesday no matter what.
It’s often said it’s better to be lucky than be good and if the weekend showed anything it was as England manager McClown is certainly very lucky and not good at all.
Friday night highlighted the latter part has he turned out the usual suspects to flounder against an appallingly awful Austrian side in Vienna.
What is the point of playing this kind of friendly before an important game if you aren’t going to test the fringe players. The likes of Gerrard aren’t going to push themselves for this meaningless game if it could risk injury, as befell Owen, especially when they know they’re guaranteed the shirt come Wednesday no matter what. The only thing that McClown should have learned on the night was that Beckham should be no where near the squad come the midweek game.
As it stood before Saturday’s shockers you either had a meaningful game against Croatia, so as he was slow, ponderous and out of his depth against a very bad side in a friendly as the game bypassed him, Beckham showed he can’t manage at this level of football anymore, in truth this has been the case since well before McClown dropped him in favour of youth and pace and is even more evident with his ridiculous recalls. His inclusion totally stifled Richards who didn’t know whether to stick or twist, he knew if he bombed forward Beckham couldn’t fill in behind, like Wright-Phillips does, as he has no pace and if Richards did bomb forward he would be isolated as Beckham couldn’t keep up.
It has reached a a point where you have to ask who is picking the team and the more you think about it you figure it’s the F.A. who want to appease their sponsors the Asian market and screaming little girls. There is no other reason for Beckham’s inclusion. Yes Crouch’s goal came from one of his corners but how many set pieces did he deliver because that was the only one that hit the target, yet again there was mentions of place kickers in the NFL and how this would be the ideal role for Beckham, bring him on for corners and free kicks but no kicker with such a woeful conversion rate as his would survive in the NFL.
At one point he delivered good corners and free kicks but not now, more often than not they hit the first defender/wall or fly over everyone’s head and with Crouch there that takes some doing. As for crosses how many times are we told that diagonal crosses from deep are meat and drink for defenders, so why are they same people happy for Beckham just to do that as he is unable to get in positions to deliver a really dangerous ball anymore.
If the game had been a dead rubber come Wednesday then there was no reason to pick Beckham except to give him another cap, it would be time to get rid of all the failing deadwood that has held us back for so long now – now I’m sure Pepsi and the like would be happy for him to inch closer to the 100th cap but there is no feasible argument for him to do so.
But McClown is a lucky sod and those shockers happened on Saturday, Russia losing to an Israeli injury time winner and Croatia going down 2-0 to Macedonia, it really shows how bad this group is. Look at the Jocks group does anyone really think we’d be going into the last week of games with a hope in hell of qualifying from that lot, they’d be lucky to get above the Ukraine.
The likes of Graham Taylor and others complain that the manager gets all the blame, well it was good enough for Sir Alf, when the players under perform. Well this and previous managers have repeatedly picked the under performers, so they have to take that responsibility and again as the Jocks showed in their group what the right man, or men can do. They were down and out during the Berti McVogts era, it was great viewing but the S.F.A. who may not be able to run a cup draw without major screw ups knew a change was required and picked the right men, firstly Walter Smith and then Big Eck.
The right manager can have a real effect on a team, no matter that they don’t see the players day to day but only for a few days every few weeks. Look at the Jock side, it’s certainly a team greater than the sum of it’s parts the likes of Hutton are getting man-of-the-match accolades against Italy but when you watch him play regularly he struggles to find team mate with a pass, the Champions League his main job is to hoof the ball aimlessly up the park – yeah I know Smith is his boss at club level now.
McClown may get us to Euro 2008 but it should be his last game as England boss on Wednesday no matter what and the 90,000+ crowd should let the F.A. know this. I mean it really comes to something when I’m agreeing with the likes of Perry Groves when he said on 5Live the other day that if we qualify it will set England back five years as the F.A. will stick with McClown and just paper over the cracks.