England's dismal World Cup campaign ending in humiliating fashion, the need for
change has never been clearer. Fabio Capello has already targeted several
players he thinks can inject some life into the future of the national game;
here are five players who travelled to South Africa but who in my opinion
should never pull on an England jersey again.
Terry - Was Terry a
disruptive influence in the England dressing room in South Africa? The
scandalous build-up to the tournament was hardly ideal and his press
conference/failed mutiny cannot have helped, but I suppose we will never be
sure. What we can be certain of, though, is that as a player, he is on the
wane. It seems that there is no longer a place for the old fashioned English
centre-half in the international game. Pace is paramount at that level
these days and considering the leaden-footed Terry has none left, his number is
Lampard - Lampard is another who suffered from of a lack of pace in South Africa. With the possible exception of the Germany game, he was far from quick enough and had no movement. He just didn't seem to be able to get around the park. There is no doubt that Lampard is experienced, but experience should not come at the expense of energy. England faced some average teams at the World Cup like Slovenia and Algeria, but they struggled because there was a sluggishness in their play. And we still seem to worry too much about player status in this country - that's why Lampard and Steven Gerrard play together despite the obvious problems playing them in the same side. One of them has to go and for me, it has to be the Chelsea man.
Heskey - A quick
look at the statistics reveals all there is to know about Heskey at
international level: he has 62 England caps to his name and yet there are two
international goalkeepers who have scored more than him. For the record those
keepers are Rene Higuita and Jose Luis Chilavert, both of whom have scored
eight, compared to Heskey's seven. I'm getting tired of hearing how good Heskey
is to play alongside; give a six-month old baby a rattle and he'll love playing
with it, but will it do him any good? Wayne Rooney's miserable performances
when playing with Heskey in South Africa just go to show that we can now put
that particular theory to bed.
James - James did
okay in South Africa, but at nearly 40 years of age, he is not one for the
future; he'll be 41 at Euro 2012 and 43 at the next World Cup. That's simply
too old. And considering that we should now be building for the next World Cup,
rather than winning the Euros, James has to be discarded. Then, of course,
there are his moments of madness, which are only going to become more frequent
as he gets older. It's time to focus on another, younger player and for me
there is only one goalkeeper who should be starting for England in that first
Euro qualifier in September - Joe Hart.
Beckham - What did
Beckham do in South Africa exactly? I couldn't see any purpose in him being
there at all. The bench is supposed to be for players and coaches, not cheerleaders.
England's greatest captain in recent years, Bryan Robson, missed a lot of
games, but never once did he get asked to sit on the bench, nor would he have
agreed to sit on the bench. As for Beckham's playing days, they have to be
over. If it was all about selling shirts, he should stay in the team, but it's
about winning games of football and he's been out too long. He's too stale and
picking him again would be a major step backwards. Again, looking at Germany, I
can't imagine Michael Ballack playing again - they are more than comfortable in
moving forward with the young players they have. We should take a leaf out of
their book and say a final goodbye to Becks.