Sunday, 13 June 2010
Its hard to decide which is more horrific, the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico that is devastating a natural ecosystem, or Robert Greens's spill costing England all three points against the US in their opening 2010 World Cup game. At least this latest English spill will hopefully be easier to mop up, with the option of a possible change in personnel between the sticks. It beats trying to preen the feathers of wildlife with Fairy Liquid anyway.
As the clean up of the spill begins, the question is, will Fabio Capello drop Green? Will he show ruthless decision making, and quash what little confidence Green has remaining? For me, the more important issue is not whether Green should be further embarrassed by being unceremoniously dumped, but who should be his replacement. Unfortunately, I think if Capello does hand the number 1 jersey to someone else, it will be David James, who is equally capable of a clanger. He has worked hard for almost 40 years to retain the infamous nick name Calamity James.
Robert Green and David James are presumably Capello's automatic first and second choice keeper, given their experience over the younger and untested Joe Hart. Experience which seems to be a running theme for Capello's squad, which is the oldest England have ever taken to a World Cup. However, given that both James and Green are prone to errors that make you question whether they have temporary insanity, I think Capello should make the bold decision and name, what in my mind is England's current best goalkeeper Joe Hart, as the number 1 for the next game against Algeria.
Unfortunately, I believe Capello has fallen for the same mistakes as his predecessor, by conservatively sticking with the same old England. Beyond the keeper conundrum, in what is now stretching back decades, England still have not found a solution to left midfield, and in more recent times, we seem incapable of finding a way for Frank Lampard and Steven Gerrard to play together. Its seems that in the Gerrard-Lampard tandem equation, the effectiveness of one has to be to the detriment of the other. In yesterdays match, Gerrard caped an excellent move with a cheeky finish and put a decent performance. While, Lampard, on the other hand was largely anonymous.
To solve the left midfield problem (or at least try to), I would have taken Adam Johnson in the squad, purely for his ability to swing a left foot with dexterity, if for nothing else. Instead, England are forced to play players such as Milner, Wright-Phillips and to a lesser extent, Steven Gerrard to fill the left sided void. It will be interesting to see whether Capello reverts to playing Gerrard back on the left side once Gareth Barry is fully fit given the impressive performance Gerrard put in against the US.
When ever England traipse through the carnival of a World Cup, or European Championship, self inflicted controversies never seem to be too far behind. Its part of what make England, England. At least this latest cock up happened at the beginning of the tournament, when there is still plenty of time to banish it from minds with future performances. Future performances that should start with Joe Hart in goal. Who cares if he is young and inexperienced, at least if he fumbles the ball like a school boy juggling a hot potato we will have an excuse for such buffoonery.