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McClaren Sacked


Lantern Swinger
What I didn't realise is how small Croatia is as a country, population of less than 4 million. Its only been a going concern as a nation independent of Yugoslavia since the early 90's but has a fierce passionate belief in itself on the football pitch as we have all seen last week. Their players were all comfortable on the ball, retained possesion and were actually willing to pass the ball to a player who was being marked, no problem, a quick pass back and another attack was on. What I found breathtaking was an article I read in 'The Telegraph' last week. At the Croatia press conference before the game, Slaven Bilic told everyone present that Croatia were coming to win for their own satisfaction and pride, he even spelled out his tactics for the game, getting an early goal, two if possible and then hitting England on the break as they chased the game. This was all apparently ignored and look what happened.

Meeting an English football club in European team competitions used to be the exit door for many foreign sides and that was when English teams were full of lads from these islands. Its all gone tits up and it has to be a combination of reasons not least that the premiership is only 33 percent English (and not many Irish/Scots/Welsh anymore) on most weekends. Yes the big 4 in England do very well in Europe but with a large proportion of foreign input.

Remember when B internationals and under 23 games (as it was before under 21s) were full of players from down the leagues, this should be happening now. I remember Steve Bull scoring against Scotland at Hampden when he was in the 3rd division!! And that was only in 1989. At the moment it seems to me that playing in the Premiership for a big team virtually guarantees a place in the squad regardless of how you would fit into a team, team being the operative word.

I would seriously consider playing anyone from the championship or the lower reaches of the Prem (or from anywhere!) who is good enough. Look at Northern Ireland, beating Sweden, Spain and Denmark at home, drawing with 2 of them away (only losing to Spain last week 1-0) with a team from Burnley, Fulham, Motherwell, Hull City etc or when Germany visited Wembley recently they were about to bring on a player from the 2nd division of the Bundesliga as he was considered good enough despite his teams lowly position. It certainly can be improved but would take a lot of sucking back and egos being dented.

Rant over men! I understand if you are used to your team being in the Champions league and chock full of superb players it is a catch-22 for you as it may turn into a club v country debate. Any thoughts??


The forgein influx of players in the Premiership is killing our national game and I honestly think that until theres a limit on how many English players should be fielded week in, week out, then England will carry on in decline. The days of a player putting country before club are long gone! Example, Gerrard isn't worthy of an England shirt at the moment, crap is an understatement, yet on Saturday for his club he was brilliant against Newcastle.