It’s no secret that England love to involve ourselves in a blanket of hype before a tournament and then get knocked out earlier than we anticipated. But this was a little less drama than our usual type of loss. No penalties. No contentious decisions. No major injuries to key players! – really it was just two positive performances with two negative results and both times inflicted by two world class players, Pirlo and then Suarez.
Not since 1958 have England been knocked out at the group stages which now looks almost certain to be the fate bestowed upon us. However, amongst all the misery and feeling of déjà vu, there are a few more glimmers of light than most of the English press will have us believe tomorrow.
Take ourselves back to the emergence of Owen and then Rooney. Ultimately, at the time these were the figureheads that the nation was pinning our hopes upon. Too much pressure on such young shoulders. However this time, there is not just one player who showed hope for future tournaments. In fact, there’s not even only two. This time there is a group of young talented young players emerging that will stand us in good stead for the future. Yes they are far (and let me emphasise that in capitals) FAR from the finished article but there is promise. Sterling is lightening quick and strong and seems to have pretty much everything in his locker aside from his decision making. Wellback is an amazing retriever but needs to improve his composure in front of goal to be top class and doesn’t seem to get himself in the right positions enough. Then there is Barkley who may be the one to add a little bit something special when needed in years to come. But there is one player in particular who is yet to have a poor game for England and seems to just be made for the shirt. And that is Oxade chamberlain.
It was such a big disappointment for him to get injured just before the World Cup but in truth it could have been far more crucial than people realise. In an England shirt he has showed composure, penetration, sat nav passing, but more than anything he provides that little bit of spark we have missed for years and years in the centre of midfield. We’ve had numerous great players in that position. Gerrard and lampard to name a couple and yes Sven, we still remember you plonking scholes out on the left every time when he was rated by nearly everyone who has played with him and against him as the greatest English midfielder of our generation. So let’s not miss the opportunity with The Ox. Use him and you will not be disappointed.
So let’s get to despondent however depressing it seems to be almost certainly out of the competition so early. Because we will get better, we will improve and we will qualify for the euros in two years time. And if we recognise the talent we have in Oxade chamberlain, we can build a team around him and utilise all the other promising young talents we have coming through and if we do, mark my words, come the euros we will at least get to the semis! Only the semis I hear you say?! Well hey I’m English…. I can’t be too optimistic!