Friday, 10 February 2012

Fabio Capello - Part 1

Fabio Capello
England results:
Managed 42
Won 28
Drawn 8
Lost 6
Goals scored 89

The next generation of England first team players are rapidly coming through the ranks, hopefully to replace a big chunk of the under achievers who have never really delivered for their country when they had their chance (after chance).
Some harsh lessons will have been learnt from the last major tournament England (sort of) took part in (after a fashion) too.
However, in spite of the upturn in results and level of performances of late, nobody really expects England to win the Euro 2012 tournament.
Do you?
But, emerging from the tournament with a bit of pride and seeing a few positive signs that things are changing for the better, coupled with some hope and optimism for the future, would make a nice change.
The forthcoming competition is, when all is said and done, merely a work in progress stage for a developing/recovering England team.
But that's not the English way, is it!?
This country's 'win or bust' psyche, as regards the national football team, is always going to be a recipe for disaster and backlash, as long as people are blind to the fact that we (England) don't actually have a surplus of world class players who are up to the job of winning a major international tournament.
Yet under Capello, throughout the latest qualifying campaign and during the recent Euro 2012 warm up games, we've seen a team performing with more focus and application than I can recall seeing for a long time and more importantly, they are playing to their strengths.
We've seen players stepping up to the mark who were previously not involved, replacements for the complacent old guard, giving them a run for their money.
And we've seen the occasional sloppiness and individual mistakes all but ironed out.
Whatever else happens in Poland and the Ukraine, I couldn't envisage another Dads Army-esque 'Don't panic Mr Mainwaring!' capitulation and humiliation like the one against Germany in Bloemfontein.
The Germans that day, were better organised and stuck resolutely to the roles they had been given, in a system designed to pull England all over the place.
Germany had a team of very good, proficient players, but nobody especially outstanding.
Their game plan and victory was an outstanding demonstration in what can be achieved through team work and clinically exploiting errors made by the opposition.
And lets not beat about the bush, several England players weren't shy about fulfilling their walk on parts in that plot ... were they?
Though it is important to keep some wily old heads on board, while the future England team develops, I'm kind of hoping that the 'Deadwood Stage' is going to vanish over the horizon any time soon, with several hitherto 'untouchable' squad members packed off inside it.
During the rebuilding of the England team over the last two years, they have been using a system that not only plays to their strengths, but which plays around their limitations, horses for courses n' all that.
Realism is a good place to starting digging the foundations.
Although they were only friendly games, I was genuinely uplifted and enthusiastic about some of the possibilities I saw emerging during the last couple of matches at Wembley: Kyle Walker and Theo Walcott combining on the right flank, Phil Jones displaying versatility and nous beyond his years, Joe Hart establishing himself as the worthy first choice regular keeper (though a back up in this position is a worry) and personally, the emergence of Joleon Lescott as an option in place of certain players who have had their day, was very especially pleasing.
Lescott has been waiting for his chance, others have had theirs, now and it is time for them to step aside.
Though 'our lads' are never going to win the next tournament (or in all probability the one after that ... and so on ans so forth), but at least they were starting to look as if they are going to be at the races this time, instead of complete also rans, like last time.
The seeds (of change) are set, if the next manager has the courage to see the rejuvenation of the national side through to it's very promising looking conclusion, the future appears to be brighter than it has done in a long time.
Like it or not ... and I know a lot of you won't even grudgingly accept this ... but most of that is down to Fabio Capello ripping things up and starting again, after witnessing the frailties of the national side woefully exposed in South Africa two years ago.
I may be viewing recent events through cynical eyes, but some of the people who are giving John Terry the benefit of the doubt and preaching the virtues of the democratic right of being 'innocent until proven guilty', are shooting from the lip in an awfully clumsy way about getting rid of Capello because he is (not my words) an 'Itae', 'non English speaking foreign outsider' etc. etc.
In other words, views seemingly not entirely entrenched in logic based on results, or that have anything to do with footballing matters, or considerations about the outgoing manager's coaching capabilities whatsoever.
They also seem to be missing the point that, Fabio Capello resigned because of FA interference, he wasn't pushed, he jumped.
Nobody officially got rid of him, or fired him, the FA made his position untenable instead.
Back in the old days, Brian Clough, universally regarded as 'the greatest manager England never had' was treated as a national hero ... and rightly so ... for being outspoken about the interference of the FA in management decisions.
Yet for making a similar, if not even more defiant stance, Capello is branded as some kind of leper, or bottler, or even (I can barely believe my ears), a traitor!
A bottler would've kept schtum and accepted the FA's meddling, Fabio Capello on the other hand, stood his corner.
But of course, there is a massive difference between the two managers I've mentioned which is far more important to Capello's detractors, in so much as ... one of them was born and bred in Middlesbrough, the other is a native of San Canzian d'Isonoz.
The latter isn't in England for the benefit of those who are struggling to grasp the distinction I'm making.
It is the timing of the upheaval that troubles me.
With regret, it needs to be said; it's traditional that England usually wait until they get to the European Championships before they go into meltdown, but this year, well, why wait?
Lets all have a (knee jerk reaction) disco, here and now!!!
I've read how 'Fabio is no loss to England' and how his departure should be heralded as the beginning of a brave new dawn.
So inevitably, when somebody else takes on the job, his predecessor won't be getting any credit from many quarters, for setting the wheels in motion, towards that bright tomorrow, which may (or may not), be waiting just around the next corner (or two).
But, if the anticipated post Capello big bang doesn't actually happen, well ... I'll bet you ten English pounds and a king sized Twix, that I know who'll still get the blame in his absence.
Note: Part 1 and Part 2, were posted in reverse order, so they would appear on the page in chronological order.