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Anorak | Captain Chaos

Captain Chaos

by | 4th, June 2003

‘THE claim that there are no easy matches in international football clearly does not go for the players who turn out for England. How hard can it be to trot abound for 40-odd minutes?

”One breath, two breath…”

Last night’s game against Serbia-Montenegro was painful stuff – fitting really since Sven’s men were faced with a side hereon known as S&M.

Sven’s apparent desire to give everyone a game is a noble idea, very egalitarian and all, but it cheapens the whole experience of playing for your country, being considered one of the nation’s best.

Would Andy Gray, the former Crystal Palace player who turned out once for England, get a good price on his England tracksuit in today’s cluttered market?

No chance – it’d be on the rack with those belonging to Michael Ricketts, James Beattie, Matthew Upson, Ledley King and more.

And then there are the captains. Questions must be posed as to what exactly Eriksson thinks a captain does. Last night England had four men don the skipper’s armband.

In order of appearance they were: Michael Owen, Emile Heskey, Phil Neville and Jamie Carragher.

Can Carragher, the most blunt-footed defender on a dull, pragmatic Liverpool’s books, be mentioned in the same breath as Bobby Moore, Billy Wright and David Beckham?

And what of Emile Heskey? Sven said he thought it would be nice for Emile to be made captain in front of his hometown Leicester crowd.

If next time Emile brings his own ball, maybe Sven will give him free licence to score a goal.

And if you think that’s fanciful, ask yourself this: what odds could you have got on Phil Neville being made skipper of the national side before last night?

We’re unsure, but you’d be rich today.

Neville can barely manage to breathe with his mouth closed. Heap on this the expectation to lead the team and interpret the manager’s instructions – vital tools in any decent captain’s armoury – and a confused Neville might even forget which way he’s kicking.

It is all a sorry state. At least when Beckham recovers from injury, the also-rans and never-will-bes will have someone to take the attention off of them.



Posted: 4th, June 2003 | In: Back pages Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed: RSS 2.0 | TrackBack | Permalink