Dirk dithers, and Bloemfontein battering resurrects managerial “knock on” for reds post?

With yesterdays England result it would appear that Fabio Capello is under pressure again. I guess had his side lost narrowly to Germany then perhaps he would be confident about staying as England manager however, yesterday’s thorough tonking now casts fresh doubt over what seemed, on the face of it, a secure tenure.

This could have a knock on effect for us? Will Roy Hodgson be the chosen one or will he decide to go for the England post? The mad fool! Yesterdays result certainly shortens the odds on Didier Deschamps, the other candidate we know about, even though he says he is happy at Marseille? This is interesting as reports over the weekend say a Hodgson appointment would go down well amongst the clubs key players. Will they be as enthusiastic about a Deschamps appointment?

Me? I can’t say I’m dancing joyously at the thought of having either Hodgson or Deschamps as our manager however, realistically are we really in a position at the moment to attract the world’s elite? I remain willing to give either a go in the expectation that once things are sorted behind the scenes, and we can move forward and build, we will be able to attract someone with a higher profile. That’s of course assuming neither Hodgson nor Deschamps take the job by storm. Out of respect to both one shouldn’t rule this out. Even now I still hold out hope for someone with a higher profile but of the two I feel Hodgson shades it because of his managerial CV and experience. I also feel he can bring a much needed steadying influence to the squad in what is a distracting period of uncertainty. I think players such as Gerrard, if he stays, will appreciate that rather than being fielded in different positions and having things complicated as sometimes, with the best will in the world, Rafa was prone to do?

Despite the reports we don’t really know what the appointment of Hodgson or anyone else will have on the decisions of all the players to stay or go. It appears Dirk Kuyt is now joining a long queue of Liverpool players who are being non committal about the future and using the World Cup as shield to deflect discussion about it. At least Dirk can still do that! Said our man….

“I’m just focusing myself on the World Cup, I still have a long-term contract with Liverpool and I’m just focused on the World Cup. What happens at Liverpool, we’ll see.”

I’m taking some of this with a pinch of salt but if there is a grain of truth in it what does it say about these players commitment to the club? Re Kuyt, although he is much maligned and many argue that we can improve on him, I admire his work rate and ability to make the best of what are clearly limited skills. In that respect he reminds me of Kevin Keegan. However, one wonders, with Milan Jovanovic waiting in the wings and a potentially big fee for Dirk coming especially if he has a good World Cup, if we will be tempted to sell? I think if Gerrard and Torres stay I think you can also count Dirk in or should that be Kuyt Dirk in? OK, please yourselves!

Well it can’t be avoided and I take no pleasure in reminding you of my prediction that England would crash out to the first half decent side they come up against. What I didn’t anticipate is that they would cave in so badly against an OK German side. Defensively England have been nothing short of a joke in this tournament and Germany made them pay, ruthlessly exposing the lack of organisation, communication, pace and basic nous in the back four with a series of breakaway goals. Capello’s team hasn’t always been solid, defensively they’ve conceded regularly however the rest of the team has been able to dig them out by scoring more at the other end. When they didn’t fire (with the honourable exception of Gerrard I’m pleased to say) they are f**ked, embarrassingly exposing basic shortcomings.

The disallowed Lampard “goal”, shouldn’t detract from this. England should have had two goals but they certainly, and frighteningly, could have easily conceded more than four. It will also bring back the usual technology arguments that Thierry Henry’s handball did in Paris and strangely enough Argentina’s first goal a few hours later in their 3-1 victory over Mexico. Perhaps now it’s two high profile World Cup matches that been on the wrong end of this it will be looked on in a more favourable light or will it be just put down to poor referring and left at that?

Back to England and as usual the day lurched from one extreme to the other. It started off with optimism, confidence and the usual bout of Sunday red top xenophobia and then, after the game, degenerated into the usual and predictable inquest about the state of English football. You know this is happening when people mention passing the ball, commitment, too many foreign players in the Premiership, the need to appoint an English manager (forgetting the last English manager and the reason why foreign ones were recruited in the first place) and youth policy or lack of it. Add into the equation lots of old pros trotting out the “in my day” line and some sad, sombre music at the end of the TV coverage there you have it, another England World Cup campaign! Time to go into the garden, mow the lawn and have a philosophical beer which is exactly what I did!

This is the second successive World Cup were England have performed indifferently which perhaps might prompt more long term theories. However, my feeling is that something was not right in the England camp. Perhaps players have be able to ignore this prior to the World Cup as they join up, play the game and are gone quickly. Living together for the best part of six weeks is a different matter and perhaps there’s been issues with Capello’s method (remember it’s also his first World Cup as a manager), either on or off the pitch or both even though outwardly the players are putting on a unified stance,? However, even allowing for all that, surely professional pride would dictate that a performance such as yesterdays should not happen?

No doubt the truth will finally leak out but ultimately, whatever the cause, this time there are no stories of “heroic failure” or bad luck. This time the England camp has pressed its own self destruct button. They only have themselves to blame?

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