Simon Boynton has had enough with club footballers who can’t play well for England…
So, after a non-international break, I’m back and I’m angry. Appropriately, after a void of real football, I feel compelled to look at the international break and what happens to English players when they leave the comfort of their clubs and don the Three Lions shirt. Something completely bizarre happens, completely inexplicable and almost entirely English. Put simply, brilliant players become crap!
This is not a new phenomenon, despite what your father or grandfather might tell you. If you don’t believe me, take a look at the 1970s. You have probably been told that this was a magical time for the English game, before ‘Johnny Foreigner’ came along with their dodgy haircuts and inability to stay on their feet.
Don’t we all know that England would be multiple World and European champions had those pesky chaps not prevented our magnificent homegrown talent from gaining invaluable first team match time?
However, if you examine the combatants at the finals of the 1974 and 1978 World Cups and 1976 European Championships (pre-Euro branding), you will see Poland, Italy and Czechoslovakia, but not England. Blame that on the ‘influx’.
And what has changed in the last 40 years or so? Nothing, absolutely nothing! In the same way that Gerrard and Lampard rarely showed the same form for England that they did for their clubs (Germany 1 England 5, was just one match and we nearly blew it in the final match after that), now their mantle of serial international under-achievers has been handed over to Henderson, Walker, Kane and Alli (to name, but a few).
Was the England captain actually the same player who helped tear Arsenal apart the previous weekend? Where was the almost psychic understanding between Dele and ‘Gooner’ Kane that we see so often when they are playing at their club? As for Walker, yes, he can run, but on his showing in the last two matches I think that I would have just gone the whole hog and picked Adam Gemili!
To rub salt into the wounds of all us fans of the Arse, Mesut was dazzling for Die Mannschaft even scoring twice. The only comforting factor over the whole six days came from the player formally known as the Ox. Rubbish for Arsenal, rubbish for England. That’s what £40 million gets you these days.