Thursday, March 1, 2012

Redknapp Can't Rescue English Expectations

On Wednesday night England conceded three goals at Wembley for the first time since 2007, heaping more misery on the national team’s build-up to Euro 2012. Still void of a manager and with the tournament only 14 weeks away, the outlook for the England football team is grim at best.

Robben goes Double-Dutch
Stuart Peace was employed in a caretaker role as England’s lack of class was once again highlighted by a Dutch side who never really hit fifth gear. Cruise control was enough to steer past an England side whose late double was unable to derail the World Cup finalists.

As the FA continue deliberating over the appointment of a new boss for Euro 2012, the vast majority of English fans only have one suggestion.

That man is Harry Redknapp.

Whilst it is hard to disagree that he holds the best credentials for the job, it would be a huge mistake for both the FA and Redknapp to appoint him.

Fan's favourite
It seems the expectations are for Redknapp to waltz into the camp and totally transform the English team’s fortunes. He has admitted an interest in taking on the role, but the timing is surely so wrong for all parties involved.

Yes, Redknapp’s Tottenham have played the best football in the Premier League this season, but this would not necessarily transfer to the national side and he would not want to jeopardise all the progress he has made at White Hart Lane.

As for the FA, the pressure remains to recruit successfully and although these are desperate times, patience could be the virtue they require. If England fail to perform at Euro 2012, appointing Redknapp now before the disappointment would further tarnish their reputation.

However, appointing Redknapp after Euro 2012, whether successful or not, would bring great energy to the build up to the World Cup in 2014. The current youthful England squad has a lot of potential stars and by 2014 it will undoubtedly be a greater force than at present.

Capello fell from grace
Let us not forget that a popular Fabio Capello was named BBC’s Sports Coach of the Year for England’s successful qualifying campaign prior to the World Cup in 2010, praised for his disciplinary skills and rewarded with a contract extension.

Such is the cut-throat nature of modern management, that just several weeks later, due to a pathetic display by the English players in South Africa, the fans were calling for his head.

I have no doubts Redknapp will manage England one day but now is not the right time. He surely does not want to risk people doubting his ability before he has had a chance to prove himself.

There has been so much controversy surrounding an England side lacking an abundance of raw talent, that their chances of success at Euro 2012 are slim.

So,does it really matter who is in charge?

True, Harry Redknapp is the only fit contender for this post but even he is not a miracle worker. It will take time to reinstall the relevant mindset and beliefs that are required for success with England's national team.

Familiar disappointment for English fans
Just as important as the manager is the quality of the players, which in England’s case is somewhat lacking. A midfield of Gerrard, Parker, Barry and Johnson is non-comparable to Spain’s Xavi, Iniesta, Silva and Fabregas.

The biggest fear for English football fans should not be who will manage the team at Euro 2012, but how they will manage their own expectations. 

Supporting your country wholeheartedly is what these tournaments are all about, but English fans must learn to be realistic. Whether Harry Redknapp leads England to Euro 2012 or not, they must not expect to win.

Written by Dom Wallace


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