Footy dopers: England vs Australia)


Any football-supporting Dopers see the England squad today? Eriksson has announced that he’ll play two teams, switching to an under-26 side at half-time. There are some very interesting selections –

:: Wayne Rooney (Everton)
:: Paul Robinson (Leeds)
:: Jermaine Jenas (Newcastle)
:: Sean Davis (Fulham)
:: James Beattie (Southampton)
:: Francis Jeffers (Arsenal)
:: Matthew Upson (Birmingham)
:: Scott Parker (Charlton)
:: Paul Konchesky (Charlton)
:: Ledley King (Tottenham)

Upson and Jeffers are interesting selections given their lack of first team football in recent years. I’m glad Eriksson’s willing to experiment, though, especially up front. Heskey’s injured, Owen’s form does not merit more than a seat on the bench, and we need the new blood.

How do you see the result turning out? I have to admit, I’m not especially sure we can put in a convincing performance.

There’s no Sunderland players, we’ll do fine!
PS I am actually a Sunderland supporter, just in a state of despair!

Looks like Rooney has been selected.

As for Austaralia, its a cert that Kewell and Viduka will be there, but the way the spirit is at Leeds, i don’t think there will be too much trouble.

Kewell in particular is a very skillful player, but his distribution of the ball is nothing like as good as Beckham.He will certainly need a very good marker indeed.

Viduka is a big physical man, with the capability of great subtelty, and can command a space well, but I doubt that the Aussies have other players who will be able to make good use of this.

God, I hope Sven realises the significance of England-Australia sporting clashes. We cannot lose this game, friendly or not. They’ll never let us forget the time they completed the set by beating us at “soccer” too.

I see that our Brian McBride has been doing quite well on loan to Everton, 4 goals in 5 games, not too bad at all. And Argentina kids took our kids in a friendly today, 1-0, first loss for us to Argentina in the last 3 matches. Both sides featured only players from their respective home leagues, so it’s not a horrible result although the USA started out sluggish and never really were a threat to score.
[/USA Footy Hijack]

Let’s see it’s your winter national sport. It’s our fourth choice winter national sport. We aren’t much good but you are England. 1-1.

Obviously I hope I’m wrong, but I think Australia will win. They will play their best players - who have developed their skills in our league. Sven, on the other hand, has been ordered by Wenger and Ferguson to use “common sense”. This of course means not playing Arsenal or United players for the whole match. They must be saved to play in the European Runners-Up League. :mad:

As David Moyes said on Match Of The Day, if England are counting on Wayne Rooney then we’ve got problems.

… perhaps I’m getting old, but the average age of that squad looks to be about 14 !

Interesting that (as far as I’m aware) Rooney’s marked down as more of a forward in the England set up … I suppose possibly as a Teddy-style link player (although that is a particualr kind of skill) but I suspect more of an out and out striker.
Bit silly, IMHO, to have Ledley but not Dean Richards. Richards is a giant whenever he plays - Terry Butcher with brians !

Brians ?

There’s no point in playing friendly fixtures unless you’re going to take risks with selection and tactics. Eriksson is wise to use this game as a chance to give untried players a debut – the benefit will show up in a couple of years more than straight away.

You’ll forgive me for having extra hope that Rooney does well, and he’s certainly worth at least 20 minutes whatever the score is when he comes on. The hype has been more of a hindrance than a help to him, IMO, and although it’s good to read some favourable headlines about my team for a change the over-reaction to his red card in the press was disgusting and I’m concerned about the tabs slagging him off if he doesn’t get a hat trick in this one. As for the position he plays, he’s good at shaking off markers from deep positions and at picking up the runs of players further ahead, so I wouldn’t play him as a target man. Sven hasn’t actually seen him play though, so who knows what he’ll do.

James Beattie must play some part because he’s on such good scoring form at the moment and Jenas of Newcastle and Parker of Charlton deserve their chance too.

England do alright against teams that leave them space to play or when they’re counter-attacking (the 5-1 v Germany being a good example), but find it harder to break down defensive teams and seem to run out of attacking options if plan A hasn’t worked. Australia have nothing to lose in this match of course, but rumour has it that Kewell has a hamstring problem so Venables may not release him to the Australian squad (take that excuse with a pinch of salt as necessary). Don’t expect an easy win – I’d guess 2-1 at the very most.

But from Sven’s point of view the result is less important than a rehearsal for championship qualifying and the opportunity to give experience to the younger ones. Don’t be too harsh in your criticism if it doesn’t work out perfectly.

He’s already admitted promising managers that he won’t play anyone for more than 45 minutes. There’s no favouritism for Arsenal and United there – everyone needs their players not to be wasted in non-competitive matches.

It’s when the refs start looking young that you’re in trouble.

Brian’s doing fine. The speed of Premiership games will be more than he’s used to, but he’s worked with our manager before and they trust one another. He seems delighted to be involved and is making plenty of friends.

He also knows he was only signed on a temporary basis as cover for injured players and therefore his career doesn’t depend on how many he scores. Paradoxically, that means he can relax when he shoots, so he scores. More than any other position in a team, strikers benefit from being able to block out the fear of failure, so he can be compared favourably to Michael Owen at Liverpool – a talented player who looks as though he couldn’t hit a cow’s arse with a banjo at the moment because his team are going through a bad patch and there’s extra pressure on him to score. Much to my personal amusement of course.

I didn’t mean to imply favouritism, it’s just that these two are the biggest whiners. What I object to is (all) the clubs’ undermining of the national team, complaining about an overload of fixtures and “meaningless” friendly matches, yet always pressing for extra European games and going on far-eastern promotional tours.

The viewpoint of the clubs is obvious - they don’t want their players injured, they want to make as much money as possible. “We pay their wages” is their constant mantra. Realising this conflict of interest, FIFA has rules to give priority to national teams, and other nations are not shy of invoking them, as witnessed each time the African Nations Cup comes around.

The players are not being “wasted” in this match as far as England are concerned, they are learning to play together, something that they rarely get the opportunity to do.

I see your point - and clearly Sven agrees, but I am more inclined to think that the best long term tactic is to keep a settled team. That way, when competitive matches come round the players will be more familiar with each other. Maybe in friendlies it would pay off to field two or three untried players (Rooney if you like), but I don’t see any real benefit in fielding an entire reserve team.

Yes, you’re right, and of course that’s the strongest argument against a winter break (whatever promises the big clubs have made about not touring).

It’s made worse by the fact that the African Nations Cup is played every two years instead of four, although that may change.

That’s sound reasoning in itself, but Sven has promised not to play the first-choicers for longer than necessary which means he has to try something unusual in the second half. He wouldn’t do it if there were more international fixtures and I’m not convinced the clubs are being unreasonable in not wanting that (especially the less wealthy ones).

Sven’s also admitted in interviews over the weekend that as a club manager he hated international friendlies interrupting his season, but now he clearly misses the day to day contact with his players on the training ground. For example, he claims that his ideal scenario would be to have one international friendly every month. I also suspect that’s one of the reasons for his daft idea of a one-minute timeout during each half.

His other suggestion has been to end the season early and have five weeks set aside for internationals. FIFA have squashed that idea because smaller countries’ cash flow wouldn’t allow long gaps between internationals. Arguably the only country in the world that gets as much international football as it wants is the USA (Cobi Jones has over 150 caps), England have to make the most of chances to compete with the club season.

As he says himself he’s going to be criticised no matter what he does. The clubs are entitled to protect ther own interests, but I think the supporters have to be more realistic than they’ve been in the past – accept that Erikssons’s hands are tied and not criticise too much if the finished product falls short of expectations, especially in the friendlies themselves.

I don’t have too much sympathy for the clubs holding back on players.

If England do well, the whole game here does well, more money comes into the game and every club benefits.

The England team is the best advertising for English footy there is, it puts up the value of the players, and so increases the value of the clubs they play for, and in the modern financial way, these players are assets whose value can be borrowed against.

I can’t help thinking there is another plot at work here.
If we have loads of players selected to play for England or even just in the squad, then those players will tend to increase in value.
Its a way of pumping up prices of players who might not otherwise get into the England team as regulars.

Don’t some of these points contradict one another dave? If clubs can boost their players’ value by calling them “internationals” on the strength of half a game against Australia with nothing at stake why would they want to hold players back?

I suppose a Leeds fan can be forgiven for being a little paranoid about football-as-business these days, but players’ book values are falling like a stone as the bottom drops out of the transfer market and I doubt that encouraging Sven to pick an oversize squad will make much difference. The plc’s are not likely to come clean for us fans though are they?

Yes, there’s not much in it for the clubs, which is presumably why FIFA must force clubs to release players for internationals - including a certain amount of friendlies per year.

I never like to criticise the England manager, he is the expert after all. If he considers that fielding eleven untried players is in the best interests of the England team, then I am happy with that. What worries me is the possibility that he’s being forced into executing a diplomatic manoeuvre, and he really would prefer to pick the best players for the whole match.


Yes there appear to be contradictions but you will note that the clubs who do the most screaming are the ones whose England selected players are regulars in the first team.
Those players have already reached a high value, which, especially in todays market, probably will not increase all that much more, and if they get dropped or replaced for rubbish play, or they get injured their value will fall.

OTOH, players who hit the headlines such as Rooney and Beattie have lots to gain, they can’t make the regular team yet, so a few games in England shirts keeps them in the reckoning and bumps up their value, and for other players who may be very skilled but not quite as newsworthy, a few England appearances could add lots of value.

There is effectively more than one market operating here, managers do not want to put high value players at risk, those players will get into the full England squad anyway, but differant rules apply to the up and coming, and all managers know that those players have aspirations too, so no point in making it difficult for them to get and England shirt on, they might well leave and join another club.

Just to echo London Calling’s point.

If there is a better Centre Half in England than Dean Richards right now, I’ve not seen him.

Did you also see that the Aussie coach (Frank Farina?) wants to be based in England as that’s where his players are.

Aussie Aussie Aussie Oi Oi Oi

Well someone had to say it!

What a game!!!

OK, British football Dopers: What about our goalkeeping situation?
I’ve been hoping for the removal of Seaman for some time ( so to speak), but today’s replacements did not have much more success. What would you do in Sven’s place?