The Oddschecker columnist reflects on a humiliating night for the England football team.
The dust is settling around another calamitous night for the national team and it’s impossible to draw any positives from one of the worst performances in our history.
It didn’t come as a surprise to me that Roy went with the team he did, but boy did it come back to bite him because, to a man, we were miles below the standards the guys have set week in and week out in the Premier League.
We were all hoping the real Harry Kane would turn up for the first time in this tournament, but he didn’t – his set pieces were so poor and he looks in desperate need of a break. Rooney had his worst game in a long time and the decision to bring Sterling back into the starting eleven struck me as one of those make or break moments that comes along every now again in a manager’s career.
I think it was Roy sticking two fingers up to the media and fans, making the point that he wouldn’t bow to pressure when it comes to team selection, but it backfired massively because Sterling’s confidence is shot to pieces and he did nothing to justify his selection.
Joe Hart had a mare and was, without doubt, at fault for their second goal and I think he is now in danger of losing his grip on the number one spot. He has made too many sloppy errors in this tournament and his concentration levels in a big-match situation are nowhere near what they should be.
Don’t buy the line that Roy wrote his post-match statement in the dressing room immediately after the final whistle – it would have been written for him by someone at the FA for sure.
So the focus inevitably moves on to who will be Roy’s successor and it’s easy to see why Gareth Southgate is relatively short in the betting given his success with the Under 21’s. However, coaching younger players is completely different ball game to working with established players and I’m not convinced he’s the best man for the job.
I’m not one of those people who thinks the England manager must be English and it’s encouraging to hear the FA saying that they will consider a foreign manager. I know we’ve been down that route before with Sven Goran Eriksson and Fabio Capello but I really think the best man for this job now is Arsene Wenger.
He’s been working in this country for over 20 years so he knows our game, our players and how we want to approach the game as well, if not better, than anyone. I know he’s not universally popular with Arsenal fans but he is a proven winner whose teams play the right way and his time appears to be coming to an end at the Emirates.
I’ve spoken to plenty of players who have played under him at Arsenal over the years and every single one has only good things to say about his management and coaching style. A fresh challenge like this could be exactly what he needs given the season he’s just had at Arsenal and a national job, where you don’t have the day to day involvement with the players, might suit him given where he is in his career.
Of the other main candidates, I would be a bit disappointed if someone as young as Eddie Howe wanted to manage England at this stage of his career. He’s got huge potential but still has so much to prove as a top level coach.
It’s not been a great six months for England coach Gary Neville and there can be no doubt that his reputation has been tarnished by this. I don’t doubt that he’s a good coach who could still go on to do great things in the game, but he needs to go and do well with a club now.
All the best,