We’ve got a rubbish manager who can’t help to stop negative play and it’s all infuriatingly boring. For any Englishman, this isn’t exactly news, but what is worrying about the current set-up is the lack of drive, willingness to perform and a dressing room that looks about as harmonious as George Best’s relationship with his liver. Is England’s rot caused by a broken spirit?
Reports have filtered through the press claiming that Wayne Rooney has reacted angrily at being singled out for criticism following the Euro 2008 qualifying draw in Israel. England gaffer McClaren said: "It’s ridiculous. We couldn’t believe it inside the camp. It is an absolute load of rubbish. Everyone is together and know what we need to do." Everyone’s together? Does that statement alone not leave the alarm bells ringing?
Managers and coaches usually claim harmony during turbulent times in the dressing room. Whilst saying ‘nothing to see here…’ McClaren has had to dismiss speculation that his relationship with his assistant Terry Venables had become strained.
The England boss said "An absolute load of rubbish once again. It’s an overreaction and about people having other agendas. The camp is very strong and there is great belief. My staff are all very good and working together. We stick together, we get advice from everybody including Terry – great advice. But, ultimately, I’m in charge and it’s my neck on the block."
After a series of dire results and a lack of potency up front, McClaren laughed off any talk of him stepping down from the England job. "My desire is greater than ever. We know what direction we have to go and we know we need to produce and perform. We understand the fans’ reaction and everyone else’s but we feel it was over the top." I can understand that McClaren has to try and ease the unrest felt by the fans, but surely he can see that England face an incredible task to reach the European Championships? It is looking like we will have to win all of our remaining games, which include two tricky ties against Guus Hiddink’s Russian outfit who, at the minute, look like they could paste England at the moment.
With all this unrest, England’s future looks a bit bleak. However, adversity has suited England sides in the past, so maybe we can grind out the results and look hopefully towards the finals. The worst aspect of this whole situation is just how every England fan’s worst fears have come true with the style of McClaren. We all feared that he’d taken up the dull football of Sven, albeit with even less tactical guile. Looks like we’ve all been proven right… and now it’s time for Macca to prove us all wrong. [Mof Gimmers]