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TLOTLDR - World Cup Blog Day 22 (22nd June 2014)

The slow death of this England trip continues.

Most of my press colleagues at the Lemmy are staying on to cover various groups & outcomes, some as far as the quarters, some all the way to the final on 13th July.

For me, though, I shan't be far behind England's players in touching back down at Heathrow - news that will delight the haters and knuckle draggers.

It's funny, John Cross and I share opposing thoughts on England at times, but I don't demand Crossy should be sacked for having that viewpoint. Good old Twitter eh? Lovely people, just lovely :)

Roy Hodgson & Steven Gerrard's press conference was another example of trying to soften the blow of failure. But the question I posed to Roy at the end of that conference about his team selection for Costa Rica raised a concern for me.

I asked whether the players would be selected based on sentiment or the future, in a clear reference to Steven Gerrard and Frank Lampard's potential involvement, to which Roy replied that players who hadn't got a game and were part of this squad would feature against the group leaders, who have already qualified and will doubtless rotate their squad in Belo Horizonte.

Then the rumours started flying about later in the evening that Lampard was to be captain on Tuesday and my heart sank.

Not because I don't like Frank Lampard as a player - not at all. But we will learn precisely nothing for the future by award a cap as a potential swansong to a player who surely cannot be under consideration were England to qualify for the next major finals in France 2 years from now. He'll be 37 by then.

We cannot afford, lagging behind in international terms as we have for less than golden generations to award caps based on sentiment or romanticism. The tournament is gone and we must look ahead to how we shape our first XI into the Euro qualifiers and beyond.

Once I floated this view out there on social media the replies came back saying, 'But we need experience in midfield to help the new breed along' and things like that. Hang on - isn't James Milner, a player whose club form heading into this World Cup was terrific, approaching half a century of caps himself? There's experience for you that I'd rather see anchoring things in midfield. 

Ever since we gave the beautiful game to the world, we have stood by continually and allowed tactical innovations and unique player development to pass us by whist we stick our collective heads in the sand pretending we know best about how the game should be played. Read Jonathan Wilson's excellent 'Inverting The Pyramid' book for confirmation of this English arrogance and ignorance combined down the years.

We learned nothing from playing Lampard with Gerrard, nor by playing either of them at the other's expense. And we will continue to learn nothing as a nation by persisting with this conundrum any longer. Frank and Steven's commitment to England cannot be questioned in the slightest - they've been there when called upon and as centurions they've had the sentiment of reaching that milestone already - why gild the lily?

We'll find out soon enough when the team sheets come out - I have no problem with a 15/20 minute last hurrah if the game situation permits, but we have to find out as soon as possible what the next generation is made of and whether we can attain the lofty heights of a 'bronze' or 'silver' generation never mind a golden one. God only knows we hoodwinked ourselves with that little overstated mantra for far too long.

Wake up England - and catch up. 


Wake Up England

Thanks for your updates Dancer, good to get an insight as to what goes on behind the scenes of broadcasting.Must be a Blue Nose thing, but agreed with most if not all of your opinions during this tournament. And yes your right its time to "Wake Up England". Thanks pal and safe journey home KRO.

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