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3 Things England Must Change to Win World Cup

Starting as one of the pre-tournament favourites, England crashed out of the World Cup after four dreadful performances.

It can't be only the bookmakers who have got it wrong. So what do England need to change for the home of football to be master of the game?

The manager

£6m a year is what it cost to secure 'proven winner' Fabio Capello. After leading England to their worst ever defeat in the World Cup, the Italian has to go.

Kevin Keegan had the decency to admit he was out of his depth, and it's time Capello did the same – at least as far as England goes.

Two years after taking the job, his command of the language is poor. Interviews make as much sense as the assembly instructions for flat-pack furniture. If the players were given a game plan at any point in this World Cup, they clearly didn't understand what it was.

And those last minute team selections? Terry Vennables trained with his intended starting XI for six months before England played Holland in Euro '96. His team won 4-1. Same score against Germany in 2010, with no practice at all. Sadly a different winner.

In future – go English.

The team

John Terry has more heart than a haggis, and less pace than an escargot. Steven Gerrard is totally without leadership ability, and has all the direction of a faulty satnav. David James – past it. Wayne Rooney – over-hyped and average. Glen Johnson – can't defend (a problem for a defender). Gareth Barry couldn't hold a cabbage, let alone a midfield. And what exactly is the point of Emile Heskey?

Much has been made about England's 'golden generation', though as former national captain Jimmy Armfield put it: “Does 'golden generation' refer to what they are paid?”

A new young England team with pace, energy and skill needs to be brought together now, with the aim of delivering in four or six years time.

The Premier League

So many of this World Cup's under-performing players are Premier League men. A competition designed for nothing but money-making is damaging not just England's chances, but those of France, Australia, Ivory Coast and Nigeria.

The huge number of games (along with cups, more than any other league in Europe) leads to burn-out. The haphazard TV scheduling (with games played in about a dozen potential slots each week), affects routines.

Players frequently drop out of internationals to be match fit for their clubs. And the clamour for immediate results means clubs invest in foreign talent, rather than the slower-burn of home-grown youth.

The Premier League's power needs to be smashed, with the national team given seniority. A development system similar to that in both English rugby and American football, where talent comes through the schools and colleges, is needed. And this has to be put in place immediately.


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