So the brief but disastrous Steve McLaren fling is over. And now the soul searching for what ails English soccer begins.
But first things first, if England wants to get back on track to soccer respectability then it needs a manager that commands respect from the English Premier cartel of managers, coaches, administrators, and players who call the shots on everything from player development to player availability. I have rarely seen the national game so cravenly beholden to a league. Every other country seems to have arrived at a balance quite nicely be it through serendipity or design.
It says very poorly of a national team that churns out autobiographies more than it does titles. Rio Ferdinand, Wayne Rooney, Ashley Cole, Steven Gerrard, Frank Lampard, and David Beckham have made million dollar book deals documenting their shopping habits, drunken orgies, and pet peeves against club and country managers. Most of them are sloppily written but they feed the need for a tabloid press more impressed with their lifestyle than their accomplishments on the field. We know so much about them through these voyeuristic excursions yet when they take the field they look like a group of lost individuals thrown together for the first time. Each and every time we know less and less of them. And we think less and less of them.
I really believe that no English coach can stand up to these pressures. He must come from outside but have an intimate knowledge of how the English system works having worked in it himself. He should be opinionated and egotistical enough to stand up to Sir Alex and tell him to sod off if he opens his mouth about the damage done by too many foreign players or whines about national commitments. He should be a micro-manager who demands player loyalty and adherence to a tactical vision. He should be someone familiar with the media bottom feeders in England, being a target of their unflattering eye in the past. And of course, he should be wildly successful with every undertaking in the past.
I am talking of Jose Mourinho. Woo him. Promise him a knighthood. But if there is anyone who can whip these preening English players beyond their obsession with yachts, hair gel, and their bacchanalian pursuits and actually get them to perform, it would have to be the Special One.