England Get Creditable Draw As Deschamps Offers An Alternative View

The international break continues apace, hurtling toward the return of club football at breakneck speed.

Even the England team are eager to get through the fortnight, adding a little verve to their game. Was it the exuberance of youth? Who knows but it was refreshing to watch and that’s as far as it goes for the viewing public. Maybe Gareth Southgate learned that a back three suits that squad better than four? Or that Loftus-Cheek is a promising prospect.

Or leaving Jack Wilshere out was a mistake of his own ego? I don’t know if it was but with players falling like flies, Jack’s omission was peculiar to say the least.

Lee Dixon pointed out the deficiencies of the performance and somewhere Paul Breitner was doing the same with the Germans. A draw was an equitable result on the night but meant nothing in the wider context of next year’s World Cup. They will do well, us reaching the last eight will be a phenomenal achievement.

Elsewhere, Olivier Giroud scored for France. I didn’t see the goal which is an almost ‘Likely Lads’-esque task in this day and age. It does however, throw more light on the ludicrous nature of Southgate’s decision. Giroud’s only 90 minutes come in the Europa League and Carabao Cup. Or for France.

Yes, Didier Deschamps has the striker’s history at international level to call upon but Giroud’s club form is not a rigid rule which the French coach applies. It’s not as if Deschamps doesn’t have options either. One of them is keeping Giroud out of the Arsenal team; work that one out using Gareth Southgate’s logic.

You Fool No-one

Now I am biased; I think Wilshere’s style thrives in a notional five-man midfield, as one of the central pair. Calling him a ‘Number 10’ was Southgate deliberately throwing a smokebomb to ensure no-one questioned him further. And the press duly obliged.

This morning he may feel vindicated. Maybe he’s not as daft as I think and he’s certainly ruthless as Ray Parlour found out the hard way. That said, I can’t think of many scenarios where asking whether you can call the new boss “big nose” would go down well.

At least Jack is getting some rest. There must be something in the air around the midfielder because his football career is hinging on arbitary deadlines.

Arsène told him that he had to be fit by December to earn a new contract at Arsenal. Which made no sense at all when you consider new contracts given to Abou Diaby and Tomas Rosicky to name but two, after equally bad injury records.

That if he was fit by December, his negotiating position with other clubs in January is stronger escaped Wenger’s attention. Wilshere now holds the upper hand during discussions with the Frenchman.

Now Southgate is telling him he’s got to be in the Arsenal first team by March otherwise he isn’t going to Russia? Bizarrely, England managers have a well-established track record of ignoring the best players but let’s be honest, it only worked once: Alf Ramsey in 1966.

Making Mistakes Like Before

Ignoring Jimmy Greaves, at the time the nation’s most prolific striker, brought home the World Cup but every England manager since has failed to win a trophy. And they’ve all ignored good players at the time. A lot at Arsenal suffered:

  • Charlie George (0 caps at Arsenal);
  • Geordie Armstrong (0);
  • Peter Simpson (0);
  • Jon Sammels (0);
  • Steve Williams (0);
  • Paul Davis (0);
  • Nigel Winterburn (2);
  • Steve Bould (2);
  • Kevin Richardson (0);
  • Ian Wright (omitted from 54 England squads);
  • David Rocastle (not taken to Italia’ 90 or Euro ’92);
  • Theo Walcott (omitted from World Cup finals 2010 and 2014)

There are others who were criminally underused  – Bowles, Currie, Worthington – but the ones with zero next to their names above are staggering, particularly Armstrong and Davis.

Is Wilshere this year’s model?

’til Tomorrow.

33 thoughts on “England Get Creditable Draw As Deschamps Offers An Alternative View

  1. Yogi, it’s just possible that Wenger has learnt from his mistakes involving Diaby and Rosicky. On second thoughts……..

  2. Steve Williams won caps at Southampton but moving to Arsenal actually hindered his England prospects.

    Bould & Winterburn’s lack of caps was much more criminal however , as the players used in their positions during their best years were clearly inferior – Palmer, Curle, Dorigo & Ruddock spring to mind !

  3. Great post Yogi

    A draw for England vs Germany is a good result although I suspect that Germany is heading into a bit of a down cycle. Any team that is forced to use Julian Draxler as one of their starting forwards probably does not have great options upfront. May be Ozil can summon more mental energy then he shows football for Arsenal for a few games at the World Cup but I am skeptical. The Germans don’t have the firepower of past years and Mesut is not the same player that he was n the past. England was missing Harry Kaine and Dele Ali which made it very difficult to score. Both teams are going to have to win a lot of low scoring games if they want to go very far.

  4. Giroud scored again for France and he is in their top 7 of all time scoring. If he gets 3 more goals he is in their top 5 and his scoring rate in terms of goals/game is the same as Thierry Henry. We have talked about this a lot in the past but Giroud’s record illustrates that records and performances in international competitions are highly misleading if you are trying to project a players ability to have a consistent positive influence for his club.

  5. Bill,

    Germany won the Confederations Cup with a second string squad, beating everyone in their way. They were initially criticized for being disrespectful for turning up at the tournament with a young squad. I think they managed to put that one firmly to bed. It looks like they have some good candidates coming through, although I am a little surprised that they are sticking with Draxler. He has been disappointing for Germany in the games I have watched and was anonymous last night.

    Ozil started well last night, but seemed to drop back into his Arsenal form as the game went on.

  6. Bill,

    Giroud seems to lift his game for his country. When he plays as starter for Arsenal he seems to settle into the position and plays in a very static way. It looked like the impact sub role was working, as he came onto the pitch as if he had something to prove, but he has stopped doing that as well. The top strikers under Wenger have been very mobile, always on the move and offering the supporting players an option (Henry, Van Persie and the 30-goal season version of Adebayor rather than the sulky hands-on-hips version the following season). Welbeck has that mobility, but just isn’t clinical. Hopefully Lacazette will provided more of that and we may see more from Ozil as provider as the pair play together more often.

  7. Good stuff Yogi,

    I didn’t watch the friendly as I was watching the Italy v Sweden qualifier playoff and it was quite entertaining with Sweden winning the first leg on a deflection that Buffon had no chance at.

    Reports I have read have been mixed, they say Ozil and the Germans started well and forced Pickford into some good saves but then sort of played the rest of the match like it was nothing more than a mid-season friendly. Another report I saw said that some of the England players played well specifically Loftus-cheek but it was nothing more than a glorified friendly. If I’m honest, I wouldn’t take much from the friendly from a German side of things, we all know they will turn up for the World Cup and any doubts over their attacking ability might want to be quelled until we see who Lowe decides to bring along for the World Cup. Draxler might have been poor last night from what I hear but he was one of the standouts at the Confederation Cup and he might not provide the goals but I think he is the winger that Lowe likes because he will run at players. The Germans have enough attacking players and wide players that are goal scorers even against the most packed of defenses that they will be fine. They also have players from midfield that can score goals and create easy chances.

    England will be interesting because who really knows what Southgate is thinking outside of Southgate but I bet England will have a more diffifcult time than the Germans will in Russia.

  8. Giroud scored for France as he likes to do against some of the weaker sides. I think he is what he is, a good #2 striker who turns up for his country but not always for club. I will also be interested to see what Deschamps does with his squad for Russia as far as strikers go. I think Giroud will go.

  9. Wavey

    I have to admit that I did not follow the confederations cup but my impression is that it’s similar to the league cup of international football and I am not sure that winning has huge implications regarding Germany in rhe World Cup but time will tell. I don’t think Germany is as strong as they have been in the past.

  10. Wavey

    Giroud was excellent last season as an impact sub but he has not been very good this season in any role. His performances and record for France are very misleading with regard to his ability to help Arsenal. You have to look at international performances with a heavy dose of skepticism. I can’t pretend to really understand why that is ttue

  11. Considerable difference between Diaby, Rosicky and, you can put Santi in the same group ….. , from Jack Wilshere.

    Players who keep their noses ” clean”and never go against Wenger, might expect a different treatment from him.
    As the Szczesny episode showed, Wenger can be quite ruthless with players who do otherwise.
    Wenger wasn’t too happy with Jack opting to go out on loan last season instead of staying put.

    Also, Diaby situation was kinda stand alone case of a player cut down by an “assassin tackle” as Wenger described it, and every attempt was made to give him a chance at a career in football.

  12. C,

    I watched the Confederations Cup (it’s football and it’s on) and I felt Draxler flattered to deceive. He looked good on the ball, but there was actually very little of substance.

  13. Bill,

    Exactly and Germany won it with a team of up and comings, beating teams who turned up with more experienced squads. Chile wanted to win it and had all their big guns out. They managed a draw with Germany in the group stage and lost in the final. The next generation for Germany looks pretty useful.

  14. Bill,

    I think the one thing I do notice is that he works much harder at international level. Maybe he is playing against lesser international teams, but some of the teams in the PL should be cannon fodder for him. If he is static he is going to get nowhere in the PL and this season he seems to be very static when he plays. He also seems to think that he should be doing tricks when he does get the ball.

  15. Germany may do well in the World Cup but it will probably more closely resemble the way Spain won with team defense and clean sheets in 2010. Defensive players are more interchangeable and you can defend well as a team but you have to replace your impact players up front. Unless a couple of players really step up in 2018, I don’t think they have found like for like replacements for the difference making ability and the production they got from players like Klose, Gomez Mueller etc.

  16. Mueller is still in his late 20’s but his production has really gone south for a couple of seasons now. Different players seem to hit the downward arc of their careers at different times but he and Özil both sermed to start the drop off around age 28. Ronaldinho is one the best examples and he dropped off at an even younger age.

  17. Something for Armistice Day.

    The fourth verse from Laurence Binyon’s 1914 poem, For the Fallen.

    They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:
    Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn
    At the going down of the Sun and in the morning
    We will remember them.

  18. Wavey

    Again, I did not watch the confederations cup but Chilean football is clearly not in a good place right now as evidenced by failing to qualify for the World Cup. May be I am wrong but If Chile were one of the finalists it would suggest to me that the rest of the world did not take that competition very seriously.

  19. Wavey,

    I watched it and while there was little production I thought he looked good on the ball and set things up but part of him looking like he flattered was just how brilliant some of the others like Werner, Goertzka, Kimmich Wagner, Brandt and others played.

    I think the biggest thing with Draxler is that he really hasn’t settled on a position and neither has the managers that he has played for. At Schalke I remember him being at times unplayable against Madrid and then injuries and then at PSG he started and has played well. The interesting thing now at PSG he is no longer playing on the flanks but behind Cavani playing in that front 4. It will be massive to see how he develops between now and Russia especially with some of the Dortmund players like Phillip developing and being in the top 5 in goals for the Bundesliga.

  20. Bill,

    Ronaldinho’s drop off wasn’t to his play because he was still brilliant, his came down to him partying more and more and taking futbol less and less serious. Trust mate, there were LOADS of articles written in Brasil about how even with that infectious smile Ronaldinho ALWAYS took care of his body and took futbol seriously but he started to party more and more near the end of his Barca career and he took futbol less serious when it came to his body.

  21. Bill,

    The other thing is Germany has a brilliant young striker in Timo Werner who everybody thought was class as a youngster but showed last season he can score goals (first player 21 years or younger in Bundesliga history to score 20 goals in a season if I’m not mistaken) and he has been banging them in this season too. I think the thing that Germany has faced is that they have actually too much attacking talent on the flanks where they haven’t found any consistency as a group and Mueller’s drop off has been spectacular but he was never a true out and out striker. Ozil still pulls the string for Germany and I think they will be fine.

  22. C,

    I totally agree about the other youngsters on the German team in the Confederations Cup. I was really impressed with Goertzka and am not surprised that there are plenty of rumours regarding him moving. Unfortunately I don’t think he will be coming to Arsenal.

  23. Bill,

    The line up for the Confederations Cup does throw some relatively weak teams into the mix given the range of tournaments the teams are taken from. The semi-final draw pits the winners against the runners-up of the other group, so Germany played Mexico whilst Chile were up against Portugal. The Chile/Portugal game ended up being decided on penalties after a 0-0 draw. Portugal took Ronaldo to the tournament, so they were taking it fairly seriously. Germany were not regarded as taking it very seriously due to their young squad.
    There were six individual player awards with Germany taking five of the six. Draxler received the golden ball award, whilst Sanchez got the silver ball. The golden ball is awarded to the best player, so the judges must have thought Draxler played well.

  24. C

    There are different reasons players like Ox or Draxler can’t find a position is because they don’t provide the end product and performances are not living up to expectations at whichever position they play. When we like the player the first thought is always to blame something out of that players control but the player is responsible for his form.

  25. C

    If a player cant settle into a position the problem usually is he hasn’t been good enough to hold on to any of the positions he has played.

    I knew about those rumors for ronaldinho. Perhaps they are true, however, it does not change the fact that there are some players whose career arc starts downward at a relatively younger age such as with Ozil and Mueller.

    It reamains to be seen if someone like Warner can step up to give the sort of production that players like Klose, Gomez and Mueller were able to provide.

  26. C

    That is a unique idea to suggest that Germany to many really good attacking players that is causes problems and the manager can’t figure out how to use them.

Comments are closed.