The Euro 2012 tournament will begin on 8 June in Warsaw (Poland) – another tournament in which England promise so much, but will probably end up flopping like Didier Drogba when he stubs his toe.
English is my first language and football is my first love, so together I can’t but help worry about the situation that faces the England team going into the European Championships. Normally I worry anyway, knowing that expectations will overexpose the lack of quality the national team really has. But, as it stands, it could be harder than ever before.
Managerless England are to face tough opposition in the group stage, followed by the depth of talent that European teams offer in the latter stages. Their group consists of Ukraine, the co-hosts of the tournament, which historically means they will succeed, just like South Korea did in the 2002 World Cup, where they defied the odds to reach the Semi Final after beating some of the worlds best teams. Sweden also feature in the group with the constant threat of an in form Ibrahimovic whilst knowing that England have only beaten them once since 1968. And ofcourse there is France. A blatant bogey team, who England have not beaten in five meetings.
As the England job search hot’s up there is still one real contender. Harry Redknapp. A stark contradiction to the last coach. This time a true cockney geezer not a smarmy Italian tactician. Not known for his tactical insight or his cutting edge style, but Harry Redknapp boasts the impeccable skill of man management. A characteristic so important to England because of the huge ego’s in the dressing room. Control is what we seek.
I respect Redknapp’s managerial prowess though, don’t get me wrong. He really made an impact when he steered an average Portsmouth team to FA Cup success in 2008, turning over Manchester United on the way. He took over at Tottenham in October 2008 after the sacking rightful of Juande Ramos. A star filled Tottenham team had picked up only 2 points from the opening 8 matches of the season and David Levy sensed it was a time to change the management style. Redknapp took Tottenham to a League Cup Final and 8th in the league after making intellectual and most importantly, proven signings in the January transfer period. Players such as Defoe and Palacios with the right management turned the season around after a terrible start, and consequently Redknapp made his mark on the Premier League, and probably the FA.
The FA have been looking at Harry for a while now, but they seem to only want to make a decision after the Premier league season ends. Redknapp has said that he does not want to take on two roles, and if he was asked he would accept the England job. Maybe it would be his ticket out of football. A contract that would see him retire after the World Cup in Brazil 2014. A chance to see his family, to support Jamie in his punditry career and to relax in his house in Sandbanks, Dorset.
But is the job right for him? Well, he wouldn’t have to worry about the change of kits, thats for sure. White for white. He would know most of the players due to his reputation in the English football arena and his general likability that precedes him. As well as that of course, some of the internationals are playing in his current side such as Walker, Defoe and Lennon. In addition, he is Frank Lampard’s Uncle, so we can only but assume that he will be included in the squad, come what may, even if he is getting a bit chubby.
Back at White Heart Lane, it is as if Tottenham are already thinking about replacing him though, with rumours circulating that the Swansea boss, Brendan Rodgers, has been the subject of an inquiry from the powers that be at Spurs. This may seem a good replacement, but Brendan Rodgers has only been in the Premier League for 1 season and plays a style of football that suits the players he has got. Would he look as good at Tottenham? I think not. Players like Modric and Van der Vaart would become useless but Scott Parker would stand in a more prominent role at the heart of a midfield 3 in an attacking 4-3-3 formation that has been so successful for the Welsh Barcelona that is Swansea. However, saying this there is a good chance both of the mentioned players will be bid upon in the summer months and therefore a new manager could rebuild a style of play around new signings.
So the question posed asks if it is the right time for him to swap domestic football for the international scene. Well, yes, he should. You only get one crack of the whip, one shot at the big time, and this is his chance. Maybe he is the key to unlock the success that is always promised by the press before a major tournament, even though we haven’t reached a semi final since 1996, let alone a final. Its a fact, we have lacked a man manager for some years now. Sven was poor at it, McClaren had no drive or charisma and Fabio couldn’t even string a sentence together in our language. No wonder the squad found it hard to get motivated from the team talks, I could hardly understand him in a post match interview!
Harry Redknapp, step up to the plate and lead our team to glory once more. Thanks ‘Arry, me old mucker.
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