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The More Things Change, The More They Stay The Same

SuesieG reminds everyone that things could be worse…right?

Cheer up England fans, you’ve all been here before, and it’s likely you’ll be here again.

Almost 4 years ago to the day, a sorry England side drew 2-2 with Macedonia in the final qualifying Euro 2004 match. On that day, England Keeper, David Seaman, made an expensive goal keeping boo boo; England’s defence were in shambles; England’s strikers couldn’t find the back of the net, and the only 2 things that saved England’s backsides that day were goals from David Beckham and Steven Gerrard.

Yesterday, a sorry England side lost to a better Croatian side. England Keeper, Paul Robinson, made an expensive goal keeping boo boo; England’s defence were a shambles; England’s strikers couldn’t find the back of the net, and the 2 things that previously saved England behinds – Beckham and Gerrard – were absent from today’s line up.

Yep, the more things change, the more they stay the same. And just as they did 4 years ago, England will probably qualify unconvincingly and devoid of inspiration for Euro 2008.

Undoubtedly, the Beckham-lovers who have fanatically been calling the radio hosts to say “I told you so” are now more adamant than ever that it’s time to recall David Beckham back to the England fold. Personally, I think Beckham was a good player for England, but let’s not lose our heads here, Beckham was not, is not and will not be the answer. It’s pretty obvious that where England are concerned, big name players do not necessarily guarantee success, and a recall at this stage would be a band-aid fix to the larger problems England have been carrying for a long time.

Unlike Sven, I doubt Steve McClaren will be afforded the luxury of time to prove himself, so he’d better shake off the mantle left over from his predecessor or find himself out of a job or back in the Premiership as Sam Allardyce’s replacement at Bolton. Automatic player selections; players out of form; mediocre players; formations that leave England exposed, unimaginative football, lack of tactics, etc. – take your pick – those ideas all need to go out the window.

And while I hate to dredge up the past too much, I think Steve McLaren would be wise to remember something the most successful England manager once said: “My job is not to always pick the best players. It is to pick the best team.”