Sunday 15 June 2014

Written by Timothy Hock-An Balaguru, Class of 2014, Junior 2 Cempaka

I have never rated the English team very highly at all. I think they are vastly overrated and overhyped by the media, who somehow always believe that they are good enough to record their second tournament victory at the World Cup. Despite the faith however time and time again, they have failed to do so. What makes it worse is the fact that they usually fall not at the final hurdle, but rather very early on in the competition. 

This has never surprised me. English teams of the past have been to a large extent, devoid of talent. They do not have the genuine world-class players which other teams can boast of. Take Frank Lampard and Steven Gerrard, for example. Both men have been extremely successful at club level for a very long period of time. On the international stage, though, they have not had the talismanic impact which their team so desperately needs from them. The same can be said for many other successful club level Englishmen whom for some reason or another cannot pull it together when representing their country.

England's best player at this year’s World Cup in my opinion, is Manchester United’s Wayne Rooney. Whether you love him or hate him, there is no denying that he is a great player who is capable of brilliance on his day. His goalscoring record for The Three Lions is matched only by a select group of the country’s finest strikers. His work rate on the pitch is so immense that one minute he can be found beside his own goalkeeper protecting the near post, and the next minute scoring a goal at the opposite end of the pitch. Yes there is no one quite like Wayne Rooney in the England squad and perhaps even in the entire footballing world. The other three forwards in the squad are vastly short of experience at this level, having only featured in about 40 games between them. 

England's daunting group.

The latest generation of English players has been touted as one of the finest and most technically-efficient generations of players to have come out of the country. This is a statement I cannot argue with, considering the emergence of talented youngsters like Raheem Sterling, John Stones, Jon Flanagan, Jack Wilshere, Luke Shaw and Ross Barkley. However, I think that this World Cup has come too soon for them, keeping in mind their lack of exposure at international level. If they continue developing as quickly as they are now, I wouldn’t be surprised if they manage to lead their nation deep into the latter stages of the 2018 World Cup. 

While that may be a possibility, I cannot see England achieving a great amount of success at this year’s tournament, barring some individual heroics. Their squad is unspectacular and I still feel that the members of the squad have yet to gel as a team. Roy Hodgson does not seem to know his best eleven despite the tournament being just a week away. This does not bode well for England’s already slim chances of success. Considering the strength of the teams in their group, I would be surprised if The Three Lions get past the group stage. Go on, England. Prove me wrong.

Key Players: Wayne Rooney


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