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Doesn’t it seem like the good ship England sank an eternity ago?

The wreckage has long sunk to the depths of Davy Jones’ locker. We’ve been well and truly thrown into the international abyss.

England's same old story“I love you Jack”… “Do one Rose, we didn’t even lose on penalties this time”.

So we went out without a whimper and it felt very familiar yet as common as the feeling is, I was very disappointed – I thought we’d actually go further.

I don’t really need to say this but Roy Hodgson is a very intelligent man. Well-versed you might say in football’s fickle nature. He’d be the first to admit he wouldn’t be surprised that the tide turned on the nations sudden mood swing after England’s elimination from the competition.

The loss to Italy appeared to have left the country (well, from what I’ve read and heard) in a rare state of agreement. The expectation had been ‘officially’ lowered. The performance was bright, forward thinking for large parts of the game and considering it was against the team that I thought would end up topping the group Italy, (similar to France either crash and burn in a comical mess, or bloody win the thing). After my initial pessimism after the Italy game, I wasn’t overly disappointed – even if it did leave me with a sour taste in my mouth. We were very naive and that was a running theme throughout our short stay in the tournament.

Roy Hodgson tried to appease the fans by picking a youthful squad. Funnily enough though the script was over looked, we didn’t really have many other options and the tried and tested, well, had gone. To be fair to Roy, he has always promoted youth players and given them a chance. So it’s a little harsh to run him down for that but yet again another England manager stayed safe, which cost us greatly.

Raphael Honigstein said before the World Cup “This isn’t the League Cup, you should select your best side”. Hindsight is a wonderful thing of course, but for me, rarely does it provide as much clarity as it has of England’s failings in Brazil.

I have a theory that our in game management is our major problem. The game against Italy (Manaus is bloody hot) was good entertainment wise, because we gave everything we had. Thus killing us and our hopes and dreams for the rest of the tournament. Taking a 1-1 draw against the Italians would have been the way to go and an excellent way to start of the tournament. Score the equaliser and ride out the rest of the game. Unfortunately for England this isn’t the Premier League, you only get three games to prove your worth.

Going into the tournament all the talk of England’s good young players offering hope for the future. Before I carry on, bare in mind what happened to the last bunch that were ‘the future’. It’s a strange culture in football that teams get labelled with the tag, a golden generation, when they haven’t even achieved anything to deserve it. Look at Belgium.

Our development of players seems to stagnate rather than progress. It can’t just be an English thing, can it? Not many players become ‘World Class’ (I hate that term) but other nations do have several game winners in their sides. Wayne Rooney is a prime example (It isn’t a new thing, he isn’t dining at the elite level table) he has been long vaunted as the key to England’s success after he exploded onto the international scene. He actually peaked very young. When it comes to England, all too often, the kids turn out not to be the future and soon enough become the past.

What we’ve seen from the World Cup so far is the successful sides appear to play like a club side. They have a cohesion, fluidity about them, or on the flip side, a player of super quality to drag them through – we have neither.

Roy has made mistakes, which shouldn’t be ignored merely because it was entertaining for very small periods. In the grand scheme of things it was a failure. It’s the only way to describe the campaign after finishing behind Costa Rica. There’s a joke in there about grass roots football in Costa Rica but I don’t dare dabble with that dark territory.

It appears that Roy Hodgson will hold onto his job regardless of the early exit. Greg Dyke released a statement saying Roy has a four-year deal and we want him to stay and continue with his work – blooding the next crop.

Going back to what Rafa Honigstein said for a second. Why should blooding youngsters be regarded as an achievement at international level? Laugh as much as you like, but England went to Brazil to win the World Cup, didn’t they?

It’s seems to be a running theme for England that the performances are not one of a long-term philosophy. They were rushed and built around several players he hoped would perform for England, and for Roy, they massively underachieved at another major tournament.

So this is where the autopsies begin, I suppose. Issues highlighted to the simple extent from day one that Roy and the gang didn’t learn from. Why play Steven Gerrard and Jordan Henderson in a midfield two when for their club they play in a three? They got overrun against a not very mobile Italian side. Prandelli put Candreva on the right to exploit Rooney and Baines. Uruguay are known for being a hardworking, can you spot the key word, mobile, team. Why continue with it? Leighton Baines looked out of his depth at times, why select him over a left back that has been very, very consistent at major tournaments and another whom was sitting at home with countless Champions League appearances under his belt for Arsenal? If Baines is your choice, why not give him the correct cover he needs, in James Milner, so he can get forward and do his ‘Bainesy’ things? Was Roy ‘afraid’ to pick Milner because of the perception from fans and the media?

Anyway, as it stands, Roy Hodgson is on a knife-edge between begrudging acceptance of England’s performance and a focus on the future and the knowledge that the team could have gone so much further. Strangely, the biggest threat to him falling on the wrong side of that balance is probably himself. Until now he has escaped the pressure piled on him like his predecessors have received, but at what point will his ship sink?

Originally published at fourfourtweet.co.uk

Post written by Ben Leeder, Blog: suburbangooners.com, Twitter: @BenLeeder
for FourFourTweet, Blog: fourfourtweet.co.uk, Twitter: @FourFourTweet

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