Tuesday, July 04, 2006

In memoriam:Sven Goran Eriksson

Ding dong the tw*t is dead. Metaphorically, of course. "Bye Sven" and "Hi Steve, nice shorts." Is it possible to look back upon Sven's tenure objectively? I sincerely doubt it. I have made no secret of my dislike of Sven, not that I am fussed by any of his private (read public) life but I do not appreciate his tactics, his formation, his lack of guts and, at times, lack of direction.
Svennis' backers would point out his impressive record in competitive matches and that, under Sven, England never lost a competitive match by more than one goal. I would not. I would point out our continued uninspiring performances on the big stage. Yes we invariably lose on penalties but this is because we have been unable to shake teams off in 120 minutes. Particular low points would be the 3-1 friendly defeat against Australia, lacklustre draws against Macedonia and Austria, defeat to 10-man Brazil in the 2002 Quarter Final and the two penalty defeats against Portugal.
Other uninspiring moments that instantly spring to mind would be Emile Heskey, England International; David James, England International; Andy Johnson, England International right-winger and Jamie Carragher, designated penalty taker.
Lest we forget Sven has continually failed to establish a settled midfield 4. Initially, it was Scholes and Gerrard who could not play together, then Scholes retired and Lampard came in and the lack of chemistry was seen by every England supporter for years to come. Players on the left have included Nick Barmby and Trevor Sinclair. Beckham has been treated as a deity on the right never in fear of being dropped as, I suppose thinking about it, Gerrard and Lampard have become. Oh and Emile Heskey on the left wing too! And don't forget until this World Cup many did not rate Owen Hargreaves too highly yet when he got to play from the start in his preferred position England fans saw what some had suspected for some time. He is quality.
It's not all bad, of course. His decision to pick and have faith with Wayne Rooney, his handling of Owen and his decision (although later than it should have been) to put Joe Cole on the left, replace the temperamental Sol Campbell with future captain, John Terry and drop the hapless James in favour of the impressive Paul Robinson.
Sven should not, and ultimately will not, be missed. His influence was negligible and he came across as a dour man incapable of drawing the best out of an undoubtedly very talented squad.

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