Time for the real England to stand up
Generations have come and gone; England has had top players over the years and top players have retired, but there’s still no major trophy in world football to show. From Michael Owen, to John Terry, to Paul Scholes to Steven Gerrard, Frank Lampard, Sol Campbell and David Beckham. Nothing.
Now another journey starts in the quest for glory at the 2022 World Cup, and the year 2021 will also be very key, as the team makes another stab at the European Championships. They can plot for the Euro Championships through the World Cup qualifiers and there hasn’t been a shortage of star players at the Three Lions’ disposal.
However, there has been a lot of mixed reactions after manager Gareth Southgate named his squad for the start of the World Cup qualifiers. A number of top players are left out, either with explanation of a dip in form or with injury. Still the squad is full of top players who have done well at their clubs.
The big problem now is to turn all of these individually brilliant players into a team. Southgate has done his bit but questions have been asked over the omission of Liverpool defender Trent Alexander Arnold, which he has insinuated that it is form based. He may be wrong on that but he is the boss, and he had easier decisions to make on the injured James Maddison and Harvey Barnes.
The same manager has included in the team Kyle Walker, who is no longer a starter at Manchester City. It sticks out that Eric Dier, who has struggled at Tottenham is in the team as well as Kieran Trippier, the Atletico Madrid man coming off a lengthy ban.
Well, England start off their 2022 World Cup campaign with a qualification match against San Marino. There’s no question they will have a stroll in this game, as the Three Lions face a team made up of part time footballers. In their six earlier meetings with the team, England have been able to score at least five each time.
A number of previews for the World Cup qualifiers in Europe are out there and on this game, England are depicted as outright favorites. SportyTrader’s betting tips predict England will score five in this game as they get to warm up for the more serious matches in the group. A 5-0 win for England comes with odds of 7.50 at Bet365 and 1xBet.
England are in Group I, which also has Poland, Hungary, Albania and Andorra. Starting against the lowest ranked team in the qualifiers in Europe should give England an opportunity to stamp authority as the group’s favorites. An away game against Albania, then the biggest one, at home to Poland follows.
Three wins in the opening three matches will place England half way there but it calls on a very good use of the resources available in terms of players. To start the transformation of his individually brilliant players into a team, Southgate should probably leave the top players out of the San Marino game.
For example, this looks like a good game to start Dominic Calvert Lewin ahead of Harry Kane, whose experience should be key for the key game against Poland. Mason Mount too should be a starter here while Phil Foden and Bukayo Saka should use such matches to have a footprint in the team.
This team is not very far in terms of quality from the England team led by Wayne Rooney, Steven Gerrard, John Terry and Scholes and Lampard, but it should target these qualifiers as the perfect warmup for the Euros later in the year and the 2022 World Cup. The real England now needs to stand up.