Theo Walcott, Steve McLaren, Aaron Lennon
John Terry, Darren Bent
The one thing that you learn through all this is, never trust someone who announces that he is no longer going to coach the national team after the World Cup is over. He has no incentive to work for. The FA should have taken that into account when retaining Sven Goran Erickson for the coaching job before this World Cup. The other thing is that the coach's private life should not be the subject of tabloid fodder. Sven Goran's private life was just as interesting to the Brits as his selections to the Three Lions. That truly is pathetic. Lets get a coach who is uninteresting in life but makes up for that by performing on the field. Sure, he can have a few brews with the lads in the local pub and go out for the occasional shindig at the arts and craft museum with the wifey.
When you go out on a limb and made a controversial selection like Theo Walcott, the least you can do is to give the lad the stage he has been selected to perform in. Have the courage of your convictions. Klinsmann took a big chance with Odonkor, a never capped player, and one whose selection caused as much heat in Germany as the Walcott selection. But it paid off. Sven lost interest in Walcott as soon as he landed in Germany. I guess he wanted to prove that he could be an exciting coach as well as studmuffin.
Steve McLaren should learn that being mealy mouthed is never going to help British soccer. He now has a great chance of doing over. David Beckham should retire period. Paul Robinson should go. He looked terrible when he had to come off the line and made bad decisons. If it was not for Terry and Cole we would have been out in the second round.
You should have a midfielder like Pirlo, who gets up not just to take free kicks and corners, but involves himself with every aspect of the play, all 90 minutes and more. We really do not have a Pirlo now but there are some solid choices out there. Steve Gerrard, Joe Cole, Nigel Reo-Coker, Kieran Richardson, and Aaron Lennon.
Glenn Hoddle as flaky as he got towards the end, took chances with a Michael Owen and laid out a pretty soild defence in Rio and Sol, with a midfield led by Beckham, Nicky Butt, and Paul Scholes.
McLaren can do the same with Aaron Lennon, Theo Walcott, Darren Bent, Jermaine Defoe, Nigel Reo Coker, and Kieran Richardson. You already have Wayne Rooney, John Terry, Joe Cole, Ashley Cole, Ledley King, and Rio (who still has a few good years left in him). We have already seen that having Steven Gerrard and Frank Lampard in the team together is a disaster. If you have to make a choice between the two, then Gerrard is preferable but not as captain. For that there is no better candidate than John Terry. Diving to save that sure goal on the goal line during that Trinidad match and booting it out should serve as a reminder that this guy plays the game.
My line up for the the future Three Lions: First 11.
Chris Kirkland (Manchester United), Rio Ferdinand (Manchester United), John Terry (Chelsea), Ashley Cole (Arsenal), Ledley King (Tottenham Hotspurs), Steven Gerrard (Liverpool), Joe Cole (Chelsea), Owen Hargreaves (Bayern Munich), Nigel Reo-Coker (West Ham), Wayne Rooney (Manchester United), Darren Bent (Charlton Athletic)
McLaren can bring in Aaron Lennon (Tottenham Hotspurs) and Theo Walcott (Arsenal) as subs to provide speed upfront and get into the game gradually. Michael Owen's injury is serious and this is going to be a limiting factor in his future selection. Darren Bent is aggressive, great off the air, and much more athletic than Peter Crouch.
And no more 4-5-1. We have heard enough about Gerrard and Lampard being as good as strikers but let us not muddy the waters like this World Cup. Let us stick to the 4-4-2.