11 Oct 2011

Man United's Gary Neville: "The spine of the team is not good enough..."

It's not often that I agree with a Man United player, but Gary Neville's recent assessment of the England team is pretty spot on in my view, and its refreshing to see such blunt honesty.

In his column for the Mail on Sunday, Neville offered the following withering assessment of the England team:

"The real issue is that the spine of the team is not good enough, as it stands, to take on Spain, Italy, France or Germany at Euro 2012.

"We`re now talking about Rooney possibly missing two games of Euro 2012 when what we should be talking about is the spine of a team that has no mobility and can`t keep the ball.

"When I look at it coldly, a team that has John Terry, Gary Cahill, Scott Parker, Gareth Barry, Darren Bent and Rooney in its central positions is nowhere near good enough to take on the major nations such as Spain.

"I'm not having a go at individuals; there are some very good players among those names. Collectively, Rooney aside, there is hardly any pace, very little invention and hardly any rotation of positions."

Liverpool currently suffer from one of the same problems as England: a serious lack of pace, and this was fatally exposed in the recent Spurs defeat.

After the abject failure of the so-called 'Golden Generation' over the last decade (a tragically ironic label if ever there was one), and the appointment of one of the game's great managers in Fabio Capello, you would've thought that basics like keeping the ball would've improved by now.

England haven't got a hope at next year's European Championship.

Business as usual, then.

Jaimie Kanwar


  1. We've got plenty of pace with carragher Adam downing and Carroll

  2. Carragher?? Pace?? !!! You're having a laugh

  3. Yes Spurs exposed them for pace but they hardly had the ball early on when you are chasing players you look even slower, winning more of the ball and having 11 players on the pitch may have changed that view a bit.
    Games are not won solely on pace ball winning and skill are more important attributes and that seemed to be more of a worry.

  4. Pace is needed but it is no substitute to players with vision and passing ability. If you have a player who has vision and can pass an accurate ball, he does not need to run fast. we have seen this at liverpool with alonso and didi haman. these players where not the quickest around but it was their vision and passing ability that enabled them to be one step ahead of the rest. We see this week in week out with the likes of barcelona and the liverpool of old. players had vision, are calm on the ball and other players are anticipating where the ball is going and moving into position to go forward as an attacking unit. Sometimes the problem with england is the urgency; often enough they seem to pass it around the defence a couple of times, then lampard will come deep, take it off the defenders feet, turn and spray an accurate ball to an isolated runnig winger. This is a good idea if your winger is messi and can take on the two players pressing him, however it often means that the winger has to hold the ball up and wait for the attack to build, which ultimately means that the defending team gets back into their positions, england then start passing the ball around their 18 yard box trying to break the defence down as soon as fat lampard has caught up with the play he runs on to ball and tries a 30 yarder with 1 in 10 going in. Time and time again I see this with england they go forward quickly only to have to hold the ball up for others to catch up with the play which totally looses the momentum. When you watch barcelona or even the scum they move as a unit. the whole team looks lightening but if you look closely they are just in their right positions moving forward not loosing any momentum and stretching the other team.