There is a silver lining to every cloud. England are out of Euro 2008 – surely Steve McLaren must go. Whether he resigns or is sacked, I don’t care, but he has to go. Strategy? He couldn’t spell it. Consistency? Maybe his digestive system. Team selection? Gee, what names will he pull out of the hat this week….
Foreign players in the Premier League aren’t to blame for England’s demise. Nor is the length of the Premier League season. There are three problems I can quickly identify. Alex Ferguson is number one. He started the trend of pulling his players from internationals, and he is personally the principle reason that the England team so rarely play together. The second reason lies with cash. There are plenty of quality players that qualify for selection. But with just a handful of teams with all the cash too many end up at just half a dozen clubs playing reserve football.
But the buck stops at reason number three – Steve McLaren. Tactically naive, mediocre at even domestic level and lacking the balls to take on anyone who interferes with what should be his sole target – winning a trophy for England. As for his ability to drive a bit of passion into his team….a wet fish could have gotten more passion from the Euro 2008 qualifying campaign.
He shouldn’t have been employed in the first place. The only nice thing I can say about him? My post from months ago pleading for his dismissal ranks number 1 on Google for the search query “Sack McLaren”.
So who to replace him with? There are three stand out candidates, and the FA should plug out all the stops to land one of them. Martin O’Neill, Jose Mourinho and Arsene Wenger all have three things in common. They know the English game. They are proven winners. They don’t take crap.