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Anorak | Silence Is Golden

Silence Is Golden

by | 31st, August 2005

‘“IT was a collective collapse,” says Sven Goran Eriksson of England’s dismal performance in their recent 4-1 defeat to Denmark. “In the second half if I should take the players individually, I would slaughter all of them.”

‘You are feeling sleepy…You are finding me more and more attractive…’

That he should. The utter lack of cohesion and understanding by Eriksson’s team in the second 45-minutes demanded nothing less than the full hair dryer.

But Eriksson saves his passions for other pursuits, and did not tell each player in turn what he thought of their showing. He preferred to show the team a video of the match and after it ask them if anyone wanted to say something. “There was silence,” says he.

This silence, to Eriksson’s mind, says everything. The boys were turned mute with embarrassment. They were struck dumb by their inadequate performances. Rio Ferdinand was unable to speak when presented with video evidence of his lacklustre and apathetic performance. David James put his head in his hands (and missed).

All hail Eriksson the genius. No need for bloody post mortems. This is a time for quite reflection Sven style. As Sven once said: “David [Beckham] should think that talking is silver, but being quiet is golden.”

Perhaps this love of silence is what made Sven such a hit in Italy? Softly spoken Sven would have been a novelty in a land full of hand-gesturing, wide-eyed managers.

Sven is Swedish so it stands to reason in the minds of the tabloid-reading fans that he must be ice cool and only ever get hot when he’s sitting in his sauna and being whipped with birch twigs.

But it is occurring to more of us that Sven’s may be quiet because he has nothing to say. Writing in the Times, Martin Samuels says that when the issue of England using one of Steven Gerrard or Frank Lampard as a holding midfielder arose, Sven said he’d never talked about the possibility with either player.

“Can Gerrard or Lampard play as a holding midfield player?” asked Sven. “They can both do it but it is a question in their heads. Do they like to do it? Are they prepared to do it? We have never talked about it.”

Like Samuels, we are amazed that so obvious a ploy should not have been broached to two of the best midfielders in European football.

England are leaking goals, yet Sven has never talked to either of his first choice central midfielders about one of them adopting a defensive role.

Which makes us wonder what it is Sven does talk about with the team? Emptying the dishwasher? Spit roasting? The wonder of forks?

Sven needs to speak. He’s no Glenn Hoddle, able to pick up a ball and show the players what they need to do, and how they are not doing it. He needs to talk.

If he doesn’t, we will start to wonder if his silence is rooted in a fear that what he has to say is not worth listening to…’



Posted: 31st, August 2005 | In: Back pages Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed: RSS 2.0 | TrackBack | Permalink